Melaleuca linariifolia. FLAXLEAF PAPERBARK. Eastern Australia
MYRTACEAE (Myrtle family)

T

he paperbark trees have very interesting bark that tears off readily and is composed of sheets of thin “paper” interleaved with thin sheets of a spongerubbery substance. Undoubtedly this bark plays a role as thermal insulation. The flaxleaf paperbark has stiff, narrow leaves about 1 ½ inches long, with a rib. The white flower spikes, in the form of a bottlebrush, are about 2 inches long. The tree has been extensively planted in the Frenchman’s Hill housing area; an accessible group is on Peter Coutts Road southwest of RaimundoWay Way, others are at turnarounds on Vernier Place, Wing Place, and Tolman Drive. Specimens at 850 Cedro Way are our oldest and largest. A striking row is on Foothill Expressway on the northeast side approaching Arastradero Road in Palo Alto.

Illustrations (links open new windows): branchlet, flowers Peter Coutts Rd, 6/20/05

Additions/Revisions:

Callistemon and Melaleuca: Key to Species

Leaves simple; many showy stamens; branches passing through compact cylindrical or spherical clusters of sessile capsules and continuing as foliage shoots (illustration)

Stamens not united at their bases ............................................................. Callistemon
Stamens united at their bases into 5 groups opposite the petals................ Melaleuca:

Bark dark, hard; stamens whitish .................................................................... Melaleuca styphelioides
Bark more or less whitish, sponge-rubbery:

Leaves usually less than 1/8-inch wide; stamens white .......................... Melaleuca linariifolia
Leaves mostly 1/4-inch wide or greater; stamens purple ........................ Melaleuca nesophila

Name derivation, genus | species Greek mela (black) and leukos (white) because some species of the genus have black trunks with white branches | linear leaves

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family
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