Callistemon citrinus bottle brush

Family: Myrtaceae

Origin: eastern coastal states of Australia.

This sun-loving bush grows to around 2-3 m tall and wide, with a loose, straggling habit. It has narrow leaves which are rigid, up to 2 cm wide x 8 cm long and are lemon-scented when crushed. It bears many petal-less flowers along its branches - these are nonetheless bright red as they are composed of masses of brilliantly-coloured stamens. The branches simultaneously carry fruits from the previous season's flowering.


There is a cultivar 'Splendens', with bright crimson stamens up to 4 cm long, which was raised at Kew from Australian seed.

Introduced by Sir Joseph Banks in 1788.


Callistemon comes from the Greek kalli - beautiful and stemon - stamen, referring to the beautiful flowers, and citrinus refers to the lemon scent of the leaves.

Another species also grown in gardens in Northern Ireland, Callistemon salignus, has pale lemon flowers and willow-like leaves, and grows up to 2.5 m tall.

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