melaleuca USDA PLANTS Symbol: MEQU
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Hardwood Trees Shrub or Subshrub
Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) Blake

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Myrtales: Myrtaceae
Synonym(s): punktree, paperbark
Native Range: Trop. Asia, Australasia, & Pacific-New Caled. (GRIN);

Melaleuca is a tall (up to 80 ft. [24.4 m]), evergreen tree in the eucalyptus family that invades wetland habitats in southern Florida. The bark is papery, layered, brownish-white and peeling. The alternate leaves are gray-green, oval, 1-4 in. (2.5-10.2 cm) long and smell of camphor when crushed. Flowering occurs throughout the year. The brush-like spikes of flowers are white in color and give way to small, woody, seed capsules. Seeds are spread by wind and water. Melaleuca aggressively invades a variety of wetland habitats including sawgrass marshes, wet prairies, and aquatic sloughs. It often forms impenetrable thickets, reduces biodiversity, displaces native vegetation and reduces the value of these habitats for wildlife. It also accelerates the loss of groundwater due to increased evapotranspiration. Melaleuca is native to Australia, New Guinea, and New Caledonia and was first introduced into the United States in southern Florida in the early 1900s for landscaping and “swamp drying” purposes. Melaleuca resembles red bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus), but the flowers of C. citrinus are red.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Tree(s); habit
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s); flowers and fruit
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage;
Barry Rice, sarracenia.com, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seedling(s);
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); Seed capsules.
Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); capsules
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); fruits
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); fruit
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s);
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s); Seeds. FNW taxon.
Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Bark; papery trunk
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Control;
Amy Ferriter, State of Idaho, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Stand; Aerial Application at Loxahatchee NWR
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Control;
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Everglades National Park (Florida)
Haleakala National Park (Hawaii)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Archbold Biological Station
Faith Campbell, 1998
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
National  Wildlife Refuge Association, Silent Invasion: A Call to Action from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, 2002. Washington DC. 17 pp.
Reichard, Sarah. 1994.  Assessing the potential of invasiveness in woody plants introduced in North America. University of Washington Ph.D. dissertation.
University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Hawaiian Alien Plant Studies, 1998