These evergreen Australian shrubs and small trees
magnificent long-stamened, mostly red flowers in dense cylindrical
spikes that look like a bottle brush, hence their common name.
The tips of the flower spikes continue to grow as leafy shoots,
leaving long-lasting, woody seed capsules that eventually become
half embedded in the thickening branch.
Many species have a somewhat weeping habit and a few have striking
papery bark, like that in the related genus Melaleuca.
The flowers are nectar rich and attract birds, including small
parrots (lorikeets) in their native regions. The 25 species
hybridize freely and seed from mixed stands cannot be trusted to
The larger species are popular as compact street and park trees for
In general, they prefer full sun and moist soil; some, however, will
tolerate poor drainage.
A light pruning after flowering will prevent seed capsules forming
and help promote bushiness and flowering.
Prune to establish a single trunk on tree-like species.
Propagate species from seed (preferably wild collected), cultivars
and selected clones from tip cuttings.