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Key to Melaleuca species

Melaleuca (Paperbark) is a moderately large genus of small to medium sized Australian native trees in the same family as Gums (Eucalyptus), Bottlebrushes (Callistemon) and Tea-trees (Leptospermum). In early settlement days, Paperbarks were often called Tea-trees as well. Fruit are small nuts, clustered along old branch wood. About 20 species are listed for Victoria. The following dichotomous key deals with the more common species likely to occur on swampy, waterlogged or saline land. The key works by selecting one of the two choices given for each pair of descriptions, which lead to either another pair of descriptions or the identification of your species. If your specimen doesn’t conform to any of the descriptions, you may have a species not dealt with here.

1. Leaves alternate (or if in pairs, not decussate)
1. Leaves opposite and decussate (each pair at right angles to the next)
2.Flower clusters along old wood (tips not growing into leafy shoots)
Melaleuca brevifolia (Mallee Honey-Myrtle)
2.Flower spikes on terminals of new growth (tips growing into leafy shoots)
3. Leaves 1 mm wide or terete (cylindrical) and blunt, flowers in terminal heads or spikes less than 3 cm long
Melaleuca ericifolia (Swamp Paperbark)
3.Leaves 1-3 mm wide and acute, linear-lanceolate, flowers in spikes 3-6 cm long
4.Leaf broadly ovate with 5-7 veins, acute, wide spreading
Melaleuca squarrosa (Scented Paperbark)
4.Leaf narrow to linear with 1-3 veins or obscure, more or less erect
5.Leaf acute, 5-15 mm long, flowers pink or purplish in spikes along branches
5.Leaf obtuse, 3-8 mm long, flowers white/cream in spikes on terminal branches
Melaleuca halmaturorum (Salt Paperbark)
6. Flower clusters 1-1.5 cm wide, fruits immersed in swollen stem
Melaleuca decussata (Totem Poles)
6. Flower clusters 2-3 cm wide, fruits not immersed in stem
Melaleuca wilsonii (Violet Honey Myrtle)

Scented Paperpark Leaves Scented Paperbark leaves (M. squarrosa )
Photo: A J Brown
Mallee Honey-myrtle Mallee Honey-myrtle leaves (M. brevifolia )
Photo: A J Brown
Swamp Paperbark
Swamp Paperbark leaves (
Melaleuca ericifolia)
Photo: A J Brown

Totem Poles leaves Totem Poles leaves (
M. decussata )
Photo: A J Brown

Moona leavesMoona leaves (
M. lanceolata )
Photo: A J Brown
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