River Bottlebrush

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Description

Common names

River Bottlebrush, Alpine Bottlebrush, Marsh Callistemon.

Scientific names

Callistemon sieberi, Callistemon paludosus.

Family

Myrtaceae.

Genus

Callistemon.

Name origin

Sieberi, after F.W. Sieber (1789-1844), botanist from Prague, who collected extensively in Australia.

Rainfall

650mm.

Growth rate

Slow, moderate, fast.

Growth height

2-7m.

Presence in Australia

Common along major creeks and rivers throughout region.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas, SA.

Habitat

Along watercourses, dried and rocky riverbeds and gullies.

Habit

Shrub or small tree 2-7m high. Pinkish new growth and narrow leaves 2-5cm long.

Site preference

Moist soils. Tolerates severe seasonal waterlogging and inundation, poor and acidic soils, poor drainage, dry periods, frost, wind and fire.

Characteristics

Fast-growing, hardy and adaptable.

Flowering

Cream or pale yellow, rarely pink, mostly Nov-Jan.

Seed collection

Dec-Jan, as seeds shed after maturity. Collect from older wood.

Propagation

From seed (±300 viable seeds per gram) using the Bog method, or cuttings taken from firm young growth. Cuttings often difficult to strike. Mist and bottom heat may enhance strike rate.

Regeneration

From seed, on sand and gravel banks after floods, and in absence of weed competition. After fire from seed, stem and coppice.

Shade and shelter

Useful low-level cover in windbreaks.

Land protection

Useful for stabilising streambanks due to soil-binding fibrous roots. Branches produce roots when in contact with moist soil.

Wildlife

Important stream-side vegetation, for shade and insect source for fish. Flowers are a nectar source for honeyeaters and silvereyes, moths, butterflies and other insects. Foliage good refuge for small birds. Attracts seed-eating birds.

Koori

Drink made from nectar.

Ornamental

Useful for screening, hedges, pond edges and bog gardens. Absorbs moisture in boggy sites. Prune severely to prevent straggly growth. Remove old flowerheads to promote flowering and bushiness.

Other

Nectar can be sucked from the flowers.