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Products > Melaleuca cuticularis
Melaleuca cuticularis - Saltwater Paperbark

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [M. abietina]
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Melaleuca cuticularis (Saltwater Paperbark) - An upright large dense evergreen shrub or small tree that can grow to 30 feet tall but is usually seen at 8 to 13 feet tall with pale papery bark and branches that are interestingly rigid and twisted holding short narrow green leaves that are slightly hairy when first emerging. The cream flowers are borne singly or in groups of three at branch tips in spring and followed by interesting woody fruit with claw-like vestal sepal appendages. Plant in full to part sun and irrigate regularly to infrequently. It can grow in well drained to heavier clay soils and tolerates acidic, basic and saline soils. It is hardy to frost and temperatures down to 20 to 25 F, though new growth tip might be tipped back by a frost. With its interesting white bark and shapely form, it can be used as a specimen shrub or small tree or as a informal hedge or windbreak. In Australia and is commonly used for revegetation and soil stabilization. Unless using as a hedge, it is best to prune up to expose the attractive bark on the trunk and lower branches. This plant is native to the south-west of Western Australia south of Perth in the Esperance, Albany and Stirling Range districts where it is often found growing on saline soils around estuaries and salt lakes. There is also a disjunct population on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is fairly common in Western Australia and has been planted in other parts of the world, including in the famous 19th century gardens of the Tesco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly. It was first introduced into the US by the Bureau of Plant Industry (USDA) in 2017 as BPI#32924-1917 with later introductions BPI# 81175 in 1924 and BPI#99435 in 1932, but it has not much been cultivated in the US. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'melas' meaning "black" and 'leukos" meaning "white" because the first Melaleuca to be described had lighter colored branches against a darker, possibly burnt trunk. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'cuticula' which means "pertaining to the cuticle" in reference to strips of skin-like bark peeling away from the trunk and branches. Our thanks go out to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo botanist Dr. Matt Ritter for introducing us to this uncommon species, encouraging us to grow it and providing us seedlings that were grown at the campus nursery. 

This information about Melaleuca cuticularis displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.