Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Myrtaceae

Paperbark

Description

This paperbark grows 10-15 m high with scented leaves and papery bark. Hold a leaf up to the light to see its shiny oil glands, then crush it to smell the aromatic oils. The flower spikes are made up of creamy, sometimes greenish flowers which appear in autumn and winter. The woody fruits are 4-5 mm in diameter and contain many tiny seeds that are asey to collect and grow. There are approximately 215 species of Melaleuca, 210 of which are native to Australia.

Where it is found

This species is common in coastal swamps and around lake margins. It is widespread north from Botany Bay NSW into Queensland and also in New Guinea.

Uses

  • The bark peels off in stirps and has many uses ranging from wrapping food for cooking to making bandages and disposable raincoats. The bark can be used to make containers for food and water storage and for mending holes in canoes.
  • A liquid made from the leaves can be used as a wash. The leaves can also be boiled to make a pleasant tea.
  • The nectar-rich blossoms can be soaked in water to make a sweet drink.
  • All species of melaleuca can be used to treat symptoms of colds, flu and situsitis by inhaling the steam from boiling or burning the leaves. The young leaves can also be crushed in the hands and released oils inhaled deeply to relive headaches, blocked sinuses, coughs and runny noses.

Further information

Click here for further information on Melaleuca quinquenervia.

Melaleuca quinquenervia
The Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) growing along the shores of Two Mile Lake, Myall Lakes National Park.

Melaleuca-quinquenervia
Melaleuca quinquenervia: leaves and fruit, leaves and flowers, habit.