Callistemon 'Violaceus' (syn. Melaleuca 'Violaceus')

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Not applicable.
Common Name: Bottlebrush
Derivation of Name: Callistemon...from Greek kalos; beautiful and stemon; stamens.
Conservation Status: Not applicable.

General Description:

Callistemon 'Violaceus'
Callistemon 'Violaceus'
Photo: Brian Walters

Although one of the older Callistemon cultivars, Callistemon 'Violaceus' is typical of some of the excellent, colourful bottlebrush cultivars and hybrids that have become available in recent years. Similar cultivars include 'Purple Splendour', 'Purple Cloud' and 'Mauve Mist'. All of these form dense, bushy shrubs 2-3 metres tall by a similar spread, producing yellow-tipped purple brushes in mid to late spring (October to November). They are hardy shrubs which will withstand at least moderate frost and which flower best in a sunny position.

Like most Callistemon cultivars, C.'Violaceus' produces viable seed which germinates easily. However, because of seedling variation, any plants produced from this seed will not be identical to the parent plant and cannot be called 'Violaceus'. Plants produced from cuttings (which usually strike readily) will produce genetically identical plants to the parent.

Many callistemons can tolerate less than perfect drainage but usually perform best in gardens with reasonable drainage and regular availability of water. Callistemons respond well to annual fertilising after flowering and are not as sensitive as some other Australian plants to phosphorus.

  
Callistemon or Melaleuca?
A paper by Lyn Craven of the Australian National Herbarium (Novon 16 468-475; December 2006 "New Combinations in Melaleuca for Australian Species of Callistemon (Myrtaceae)") argues that the differences between the genera Callistemon and Melaleuca are insufficient to warrant them being retained separately and that they should be combined. As Melaleuca has precedence, adoption of Craven's work would transfer all species of Callistemon into Melaleuca. Some state herbaria have adopted this change but, at this stage, the re-classification has not been taken up in the Australian Plant Census, which ANPSA recognises as the authority on plant nomenclature. For this reason we have retained Callistemon as a separate genus but the corresponding names under Melaleuca will also be mentioned where appropriate.

Craven's re-classification has been adopted in a recent (2013) publication "Melaleucas: their botany, essential oils and uses" by Joseph J. Brophy, Lyndley A. Craven and John C. Doran.

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