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Callistemon formosus, Cliff Bottlebrush, Kingaroy Bottlebrush


Callistemon formosus is known as the Cliff Bottlebrush or Kingaroy Bottlebrush. The latter common name refers to a town in southern Queensland near where the species occurs.

Callistemon formosus is a tall shrub that may reach a height of five metres with a spread of three metres and pendulous growth habit. The specimens, in our cold climate garden, are two metres tall four years after planting.

The leaves are narrow, up to eight centimetres long and one centimetre wide. Juvenile growth is slightly hairy and purplish pink in colour.

The cream flower spikes that appear in late spring are about eight centimetres long and three centimetres across. As with all bottlebrushes the flower spikes should be cut off when they fade. This will encourage new growth and promote a plethora of brushes during the next flowering period.

One description states that the species is suitable for tropical and frost-free areas. We have a number of specimens surviving and thriving in our cold climate garden.

Callistemon formosus has very limited distribution and is found in rocky places in or near rainforests. Originally the species was thought to be restricted to the Kingaroy area, southern Queensland. Callistemon formosus has also been found in north-eastern New South Wales.

Propagate from seed or cuttings. Callistemon formosus has proved to be one of the easiest bottlebrushes to propagate from cuttings.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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