Myrtaceae (myrtle family) Melaleuca

Melaleuca linariifolia flaxleaf paperbark, snow in summer

Eastern Australia
Melaleuca linariifolia branchlets with leaves, flowers, fruit, from Peter Coutts Road. John Rawlings, 20 Jun 2005

The paperbark trees have very interesting bark that tears off readily and is composed of sheets of thin “paper” interleaved with thin sheets of a sponge-rubbery substance. Undoubtedly this bark plays a role as thermal insulation. The flaxleaf paperbark has stiff, narrow leaves about 1½ 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 of more than a dozen is on Peter Coutts Road southwest of Raimundo 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.

· Callistemon and Melaleuca: Key to Species.

Name derivation: Melaleuca – Greek mela (black) and leukos (white) because some species of the genus have black trunks with white branches; linariifolia – linear leaves.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Snow in summer common name added Jan 2018 (SP).