Melaleuca huegelii

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: South western coastal districts of Western Australia.
Common Name: Chenille Honey Myrtle
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
huegelii...after Baron von Hugel, a plant collector
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Melaleuca huegelii is a common plant in cultivation among Australian plant enthusiasts but it has not spread into general horticulture to the extent that it deserves.

Melaleuca huegelii
Melaleuca huegelii
Photo: Brian Walters

Two sub-species of Melaleuca huegelii are currently recognised; ssp. huegelii (shown in the photo) and ssp. pristicensis. Both are medium to large shrubs, generally 3-4 m in height. Ssp.pristicensis is found in the northen part of the species' range around Shark Bay on the central Western Australian coast. It differs from ssp.huegelii in having mauve to pink flowers rather than white.

The flower clusters of M.huegelii are of "bottlebrush" configuration, 50-75 mm long and well displayed towards the ends of the branches. The pink flower buds are also an attractive feature of the plant. Flowering occurs in early summer.

The leaves are very small and crowded against the stems in a scale-like configuration.

Although native to a dry summer climate M.huegelii has been grown successfully in the wetter summer conditions of Australia's east coast in well drained, sunny positions. The species responds to annual fertilising after flowering and to an annual light pruning to encourage a bushy shape.

Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings.

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