Monday, August 4, 2008

Callistemon polandii, Gold-tipped Bottlebrush

Callistemon polandii, gold tipped bottlebrush
This bottlebrush was named after the Reverand Poland who was probably a keen eyed amateur botanist in his spare time. It occurs along that strip of coast between Rockhampton and Townsville but like most of its kind it is adaptable to frosty climates around the country. The flowers are a nice deep red and the gold tipped anthers really stand out against this colour.
An added bonus is that the new foliage is silvery pink and quite distinctive. It is in flower now and will probably continue to flower for the next few months. It is usually sold as a "shrub" but I think it is better treated as a small tree as it grows to about 5 metres ,a good size for a small garden. Better still in planting a group of 5 about a metre apart, and, as they mature, by removing the lower branches an interesting symmetry of trunks is revealed . This also allows for under-planting with either other native plants or tropical style foliage plants, The fibrous papery bark of the trees is also useful for attaching orchids or bromeliads to add another dimension to the planting scheme. Needless to say it is an excellent tree for attracting birds from the noisy lorikeets to tiny honeyeaters. The New Holland honeyeaters often hold a party in the tree with a gathering of up to ten or fifteen making a terrific racket with their machinegun like explosive chattering and darting about.
2017 update; I no longer have a plant of it in the garden but it still should be available from specialist native plant growers

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