Characteristics of Black Tea Tree (Melaleuca bracteata) in the Wild

Melaleuca bracteata
Black Tea Tree or River Tea Tree (Melaleuca bracteata) is one of the trees that grow naturally in Australia. However, now it has spread to various tropical countries. In Indonesia, this tree is known as Daun-Wangi.

In its native Australia, this tree is used in the production of shampoos, soaps, and perfumes. In Indonesia, its essential oil is used as a vegetable attractant to control fruit fly pests.

Black tea-trees are also good for environmental greening, erosion protection, and decorative trees in city parks or home gardens.

Several cultivars have been developed including the ‘Revolution Gold’, ‘Revolution Green’, and the dwarf form called the ‘Golden Gem’.

 

Characteristics of Black Tea Tree Leaf

Melaleuca bracteata Leaf
Source: flickr.com/RuthP

The leaves are narrow, spear-shaped to linear, 7-30 mm long and 1-3 mm wide without stalks. The leaves are arranged spirally around the stem and are crammed together. The upper surface of the leaves is downy, especially when young, with lots of greases.

 

Characteristics of Black Tea Tree Flower

Melaleuca bracteata Flower
Source: flickr.com/sqgl

The flowers are loosely arranged in clusters to form cylindrical or ovoid spikes, 3-9 cm long by about 1.5 cm wide, cream or white. Each flower usually has a leaf at the base and the petals fall off as soon as the flower opens.

Flowering occurs from spring to early summer and is followed by fruit.

 

Characteristics of Black Tea Tree Fruit

Melaleuca bracteata Fruit
Source: flickr.com/tanetahi

The fruit is roughly round to oval in shape, about 3 mm in diameter, sparsely arranged along the branches.

 

Characteristics of Black Tea Tree

Melaleuca bracteata Tree
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Black Tea Tree grows as a leafy tree, usually 5-8 meters tall but in the wild untouched by humans, it sometimes grows taller. The bark is rough and light gray to dark gray.

Its charitable habitat stretches from Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and from northeast Queensland to the south to the Macleay River in New South Wales. The tree grows near beaches, forests, and along river banks. In New South Wales, the home range includes the Northern Tablelands, the North Coast, and the Northwest Slope. In Western Australia, Black tea-tree grows in the Kimberley and the Carnarvon and Pilbara biogeographic regions. There are also fragmented populations in South Australia.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE BLACK TEA TREE

Black tea-tree can be cultivated from mature seeds, or vegetatively, by grafting on primary or secondary stems.

 

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