Melaleuca linariifolia is a small tree growing to a height of 6–10 m with distinctive and attractive white or creamy white, papery bark and a dense canopy. Its leaves are arranged in alternating pairs (decussate), glabrous except when very young, 17–45 mm long, 1–4 mm wide, linear to lance-shaped and with a distinct mid-vein. The flowers are white to creamy-white, perfumed and arranged in spikes on the ends of branches which continue to grow after flowering, sometimes also in the upper leaf axils.
Each spike is up to 40 mm wide and long and contains 4 to 20 individual flowers. The petals are 2.5–3.3 mm long and fall off as the flower matures. The stamens are arranged in five bundles around the flower and each bundle contains 32 to 73 stamens. The flowers cover the tree over a relatively short period, between October and February and are followed by fruit which are woody capsules, 2.5–4 mm wide and 4–5 mm long scattered along the stems.The fruiting capsules have valves which do not project beyond the rim of the capsule.
Melaleuca linariifolia is cultivated as an ornamental tree for streets, parks and gardens and is also used as a screen or windbreak in Australia and overseas. It is popular as a nature strip tree in Melbourne in Victoria. It tolerates both dry and boggy conditions and is frost hardy. It should be planted with caution as it can damage wastewater pipes, and is easily ignitable, so should not be planted in fire-prone areas. It has also become a garden escape in Western Australia, however it suitable for planting under powerlines and is a food or habitat sources for native animals, including many insects. There is a range of cultivars that has been developed including dwarf forms such as "Snowstorm" (to 1.5 metres tall) and "Seafoam" (2.5 metres tall).
This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.