The following photos are of an Australian Native Plant the Prickly Paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides), which I planted in my front yard many years ago. This summer they were in full bloom giving me the best display I’ve ever seen from them.
Paperbarks got their name because the bark of these trees look like paper. Early settlers used the bark to light campfires when making tea. This gave them their nickname, “Tea Tree”.
With over 200 species of Melaleuca in Australia, only a few are trees. It is endemic to Australia, with Melaleuca forests, mainly in northern regions, covering some 6.5 million hectares.
These forests are important habitat for many birds such as egrets, herons, and spoonbills. Oils, e.g. Tea Tree Oil, come from the foliage of some species of Melaleuca.
Melaleuca derives from the Greek, melas (black) and leukos (white).
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