Melaleuca viridiflora

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Across northern tropical Australia; along streams, in swampy areas and often in dense stands in open woodlands where the land may be seasonally flooded. The species also occurs in New Guinea.
Common Name: Broad-leaved paperbark
Derivation of Name: Melaleuca...from Greek melas; black and leukos; white, referring to black marks on the white trunks of some species due to fire
viridiflora...from Latin viridis, green in colour, referring to the (usually) green flowers
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Melaleuca viridiflora is a small, erect or straggly tree, 3-10 metres high. Several varieties are recognised: var.attenuata, var.canescens and var.glabra. These differ from var.viridiflora in minor features of foliage and flowers.

Melaleuca viridiflora (green)

Melaleuca viridiflora (red)
The common green flowered form of Melaleuca viridiflora (top) and a red flowered form (bottom)
Photos: Keith Townsend

The bark is grey to cream, fibrous and in papery layers. Leaves are broad, oval, flat, stiff, thick. smooth, dull dark green with 5-7 longitudinal veins. They are about 7-19 cm long x 2.5-5.5 cm wide. The new growth is hairy.

The flowers are usually greenish-cream but a small percentage of plants produce red to pink blooms. They are borne on dense cylindrical spikes 5-10 cm x 4-6 cm, the spikes being in groups of 1-4. The seed is formed in small woody capsules 0.3-0.5 cm x 0.4-0.6 cm.

The broad-leaved paperbark is adaptable to a wide range of soils and conditions but does particularly well on heavy clays which are waterlogged in the wet.

Propagation is easy from seed and cuttings are also successful. Red flowered forms should be propagated from cuttings to ensure that they produce plants true to the parent.


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