One of the most popular Australian native trees is the Broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). The Broad-leaved paperbark is a hardy native plant. However it has a more attractive counterpart, Melaleuca leucadendra, Weeping paperbark.
Common name: Weeping paperbark, Cajeput Tree
Botanic name: Melaleuca leucadendra
Description: The Melaleuca quinquenervia and leucadendra have some similarities, with the obvious common feature of papery bark which is thick and spongy. The difference lies in their foliage. The M. leucadendra, similar to a gum tree, has brighter green, semi-weeping foliage. Its average size is 10 metres (30′), but it can grow to 30 metres (100′). The flowers are rich in nectar.
Climate: M. leucadendra is native to Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is widely distributed from the Kimberleys to Cape York and south to Bundaberg. It also occurs in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Although it will withstand some frost, it is not recommended for cold areas such as mountainous regions or Tasmania. It will grow well in most other areas.
Downside: Only available at specialist native plant nurseries
lovely weeping foliage
is available as a broad-leaved and fine-leaved form
Cajeput oil is distilled from the foliage
attracts native nectar feeding birds and fruit bats
tolerates both extreme wet and dry conditions
will tolerate a variety of habitats such as highways, streets and gardens and can be used for swamp reclamation or stream bank erosion control
attracts native nectar feeding birds
shelter is required during the first year, especially in frost prone areas
Cost and availability:
M. leucadendra is usually propagated from seed. The broad leaved and fine leaved forms are available at:
Sydney Wildflower Nursery West, Marsden Park, NSW, 2765
Phone: (02) 9628 4448
Fairhill Native Plants, Yandina, QLD, 4561.
Phone: (07) 5446 7088
Costs $6-$8 for 150mm (6″) pot
The fine-leaved form is also available from:
Zanthorrea Nursery, Maida Vale, WA, 6057
Phone: (08) 9454 4540
Costs $1.95 for a tube