Melaleuca styphelioides. PRICKLY PAPERBARK. New South Wales
MYRTACEAE (Myrtle family)

A group of tall paperbarks planted by arborist Bill Parker in January 1970 can be seen on Palm Drive between Palo Road and the entry gates, on the east side. There is another on Stanford Avenue opposite Peter Coutts Road. The bark is furrowed and hard, the leaves are small and prickly and the flowers are creamy white bottlebrushes.

M. hypericifolia is undoubtedly growing on campus also. Melaleuca flowers and fruits resemble those of Callistemon but can be distinguished with a hand lens by noting that the stamens are not separate individuals but, at their base, are joined together in groups.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Illustrations (links open new windows): habit (Palm Drive grove) | branchlet and flowers/showy stamens, Palm Drive grove, 6/15/05

Additions/Revisions:

An entry in Albert Wilson's 1938 Distinctive Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in the Gardens of the San Francisco Peninsula (p. 95) suggests the Palm Drive grove is around 70 years older.

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 | hard, tough

Related material:

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family
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