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 “Old Duninald” was raised by Sid Reynolds at his property “Old Duninald” near Paterson in New South Wales. It arose as a chance seedling and is of uncertain parentage. To date this cultivar has not been widely available. The plant shown was photographed at the Mount Annan Botanic Garden, Campbelltown, New South Wales.
The cultivar appears to be a free flowering plant growing to around 2 metres in height by a similar spread. The typical bottlebrush flowers are an attractive orange-red with yellow tipped stamens. Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer.
C.”Old Duninald” probably produces viable seed. However, because of seedling variation any plants produced from this seed will not be identical to the parent plant and cannot be called “Old Duninald”. Plants produced from cuttings (which should 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 to well to annual fertilising after flowering and are not as sensitive as some other Australian plants to phosphorus.
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.
Callistemon ‘Old Duninald’
Photo: Brian Walters