General Description:

There is ongoing controversy about whether Melaleuca or Callistemon should be used for the bottlebrush species – see footnote box. Some herbaria have now adopted the name Melaleuca for these plants, however, this reclassification has not been adopted in the Australian Plant Census (which is accepted by ANPSA as the authority on Australian Plant nomenclature).

Callistemon “Demesne Bronwyn” is one of many cultivars raised by Harry Infield on the north coast of New South Wales. It is typical of some of the excellent, colourful cultivars and hybrids that have become available in recent years. It forms a dense, bushy shrub 1.5 to 2 m tall by a similar spread and produces brilliant pink/red brushes in mid to late spring (October to November). It is a hardy shrub which will withstand at least moderate frost and which flowers best in a sunny position.

Like most Callistemon cultivars, C.”Demesne Bronwyn” 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 “Demesne Bronwyn”. 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 2013 publication “Melaleucas: their botany, essential oils and uses” by Joseph J. Brophy, Lyndley A. Craven and John C. Doran.


Plant profile image

Callistemon ‘Demesne Bronwyn’
Photo: Brian Walters


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