Callistemon quercinus (syn. Melaleuca quercina)

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Central Queensland from Injune to Cambooya, south to Talwood, and including areas near Chinchilla and Surat.
Common Name: Oakey Bottlebrush or Injune Bottlebrush
Derivation of Name: Callistemon...from Greek kalos; beautiful and stemon; stamens.
quercinus... A reference to the genus Quercus (the oak tree) but, in this case, quercinus refers to the location of the type specimen - Oakey in Central Queensland.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Callistemon quercinus is well known in cultivation under the name Callistemon 'Injune'. It was named Melaleuca phratra by Lyn Craven in 2009 but recent work by Tony Bean of the Queensland Herbarium indicated that the species would be more correctly placed in Melaleuca quercina, which was also named in 2009 by Craven (note we have adopted the name Callistemon quercinus on this site in accordance with the Australian Plant Census as there is ongoing controversy about whether Melaleuca or Callistemon should be used for the bottlebrush species - see box below).

Callistemon quercinus
Callistemon quercinus
Photo: Brian Walters

C. quercinus is a tall shrub to small tree with a weeping growth habit, usually up to 2-4 metres high. It has narrow lance-shaped leaves to about 7 cm in length. The pale pink bottlebrush-shaped flowers occur mainly in spring but a second flush in late summer/autumn is not unusual. The flowers fade to white as they age. This species has become very popular in cultivation as an attractive and hardy shrub for a wide range of soils and climates. It prefers a sunny position and moist soils and is tolerent of at least moderate frost. It withstands extended dry conditions once established. Like other callistemons, it responds well to annual fertilising after flowering.

Like most callistemons, C. quercinus produces viable seed which germinates easily. However, as it is unclear whether this plant is a hybrid or not, any plants produced from this seed may not be identical to the parent plant. For reliable results, the plant should be propagated by cuttings which strike easily from firm, current seasons growth.

  
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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