Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Melaleuca, Broad-leaved Paperbark, Punk Tree, Tree Paperbark
Melaleuca quinquenervia

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Melaleuca (me-luh-LOO-kuh) (Info)
Species: quinquenervia (kwin-kway-NER-vee-uh) (Info)


over 40 ft. (12 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 27 photos.
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1 positive
4 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral mastrclndr On Nov 18, 2014, mastrclndr from Valencia, CA wrote:

I planted a multi-trunked one in my front yard several years back. I liked it for it's appearance. It is decorative and the creamy white bloom clusters are lovely . . I'm chopping it down now, as the invasive shallow roots have buckled my patio, a walkway, as well as the sidewalk in front of my house. A decorative tree yes . . but the invasive root system leaves a lot to be desired. Keep that in mind when planting one.
It needs room to run.

If one is wanting a bottlebrush tree . . I would suggest looking at the "weeping bottlebrush" Calistemon viminalis

Neutral KatherineG On Jun 16, 2012, KatherineG from Laguna Beach, CA wrote:

We planted 7 15 gal melaleuca tress and first some of the leaves turned brown. Now they are loosing even their green leave.s Live in Laguna Beach and watering twice a week. Planted 3 weeks ago Now what?

Negative frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Melaleuca, Broad-leaved Paperbark, Punk Tree, Tree Paperbark Melaleuca quinquenervia is Naturalized in Texas and Other States.
It is considered an invasive noxious plant and is prohibited in Texas.

Negative caron On Nov 21, 2004, caron from Woodland Park, CO (Zone 4b) wrote:

This species is on the United States FEDERAL NOXIOUS WEED LIST. It is not allowed for importation to the US, nor is it allowed in any interstate or intrastate transportation without a specific permit by USDA APHIS PPQ (Plant Protection and Quarantine).

Millions are being spent in control and in particular biological control of this incredibly noxious plant. Destroy at all costs. If you find it growing anywhere in the US on federal, state, county, city, or botanic garden property please notify your State Department of Agriculture as well as USDA APHIS with the location.

Neutral palmbob On Nov 19, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

There is one growing in a local botanical garden here in California... seems harmless enough in this climate. Not the world's most attractive tree, though.

Negative foodiesleuth On Aug 3, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

We don't grow it, but found one in our front yard when we moved to our present location. My son has cut it down and attempted to dig up the roots. Some roots must have been left, because the plant is beginning to come up again...!!!!

There are many melaleuca growing in Hawaii

Negative NativePlantFan9 On Aug 2, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Melaleuca, Australian Paperbark Tree or White Bottlebrush Tree was introduced to South Florida in the 1800s to drain the swamps and the valuable Everglades, all at that time considered worthless, for development and farmland. It is very invasive to this day and is spreading rapidly throughout central and southern Florida, choking out important native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife in Florida's ecosystems. It is widespread throughout zones 9b, 10a, 10b, 11 and below, southward throughout the Keys. It now covers thousands of acres in the Everglades and forms dense, impenetrable thickets on tree islands, pushing out native vegetation and providing little food or shelter to native wildlife. It is widespread in sloughs, wet prairies, cypress swamps, freshwater marshes, hammocks and pine flatwoods and scrub. It is now banned from importance throughout Florida and is on the EPPC Plant List One. These trees are difficult to eradicate, even after they die, as their seeds get dispersed widely by wildlife, wind, and fire such as prescribed burns. They are even invasive in some natural areas and remaining habitat and parks in my area. If you have these trees in your yard, cut them down and use herbicide on the remaining stumps of the felled trees VERY CAREFULLY so it dosn't spread and kill insects and wildlife by moving up the food chain and native plants. These weeds must be removed and eradicated if possible!

MORE FACTS - Called the White Bottlebrush Tree for it's whitish-yellowish, fluffy flower seed pods, and the Australian Paperbark Tree for it's papery, peeling, whitish bark. The tree is native to Australia, where it is the opposite of the threats it is posing to native Florida ecosystems, as it is endangered there due to destruction and insects and other wildlife keeping it's numbers under control.

Positive baz On Mar 17, 2004, baz wrote:

Not being prone to asthma or other airborne allergic problems (etc), I found the most glorious experience from the flowering "Paper-barked tea tree" outside my room between hot spells here, where it is native.

The famous Australian poet, Kath Walker (now deceased) took her name from a dialect name for this most emblematic swamp species from her homeland North Stradbroke Island (also: Minjerribah). Oodgeroo is one name for it.

Blue and black winged butterflies in abundance come to its honey-smell flowers this time of year (Southern Autumn, between big rains). Bees, cute song-birds, and at least three different butterflies take great advantage of the flower's brief periods of full bloom.

The timing of normal flowering is also keyed in to regional Aborigines folk-lore and hunting seasons.

The bark makes great art material and has an amazing spiral pattern of holes where little branches tried to get through. It was used as a tea (check carefully first!) by colonists, thus the name "tea-tree".

If Florida needs to kill it off, as is the sad lot of species in the wrong country, the wood underneath all that bark is beautiful for woodworking...

Neutral deekayn On Jan 22, 2004, deekayn from Tweed Coast
Australia wrote:

The Australian aborigines used the leaves to prepare a treatment for headaches and colds

Negative bvegan On Jul 17, 2003, bvegan from Naples, FL wrote:

The scourge of South Florida! It was planted in the attempts to drain out the swamps. It worked a little too well. The USDA & UF have been spending thousands in research money attempting to get rid of this thing. I hate the smell of the blooms, and many report having headaches and allergies flare up because of them. These demonstrate the valuable lesson of think before you plant!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apple Valley, California
Encinitas, California
San Diego, California
Bartow, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Stuart, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii

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