Melaleuca irbyana, Swamp Tea Tree
Melaleuca irbyana, Swamp Tea Tree, develops into a large shrub or small tree in the wild. In our cold climate garden plants only reach a height of about one metre. Plants, in another local garden, have grown into a similar size.
M. irbyana grows in open eucalypt forests on poorly drained sites. Our plants are probably restricted in size because they are growing in well drained, rather dry sites.
The bark is spongy and papery. Branches are pendulous with small leaves with taper to a point and are pressed against the branches. Flowers are white, scented and held in terminal spikes up to 2.5 centimetres long. Each spike is composed of 3-12 individual flowers. Flowers appear from September to January. Small, woody fruits are flattened spheres. Seeds are released when they mature.
In our garden plants are grown as foreground specimens in garden beds. Growth habit, foliage and flowers are all attractive features. Tip pruning is appreciated.
The type specimen was collected in the early 1990's by L. G. Irby
M. irbyana is classified as a threatened species in both NSW and Queensland.
The species was previously known as M. tamariscina subsp. irbyana. M. tamariscina is found in central Queensland.
Propagate from seed and cuttings.
Warren and Gloria Sheather