Callistemon salignus (White Bottlebrush) - Upright evergreen large shrub or small tree to 20 to 25 feet tall with pale gray to white papery bark. It has 2 to 3 inch long narrow willow-like leaves that emerge a bright coppery pink color in winter and in spring and early summer it is covered with dense spikes of cream to pale-yellow bottlebrush flowers.
Plant in full to part sun in a moderately well drained soil, though known to also tolerate seasonally waterlogged soils. Noted to be drought tolerate but looks better with occasional irrigation and is frost hardy and tolerant of temperatures down to around 20° F. We have an old plant of this species planted out in the nursery in a location where it gets full morning sun and competes with a large Eucalyptus camaldulensis. It is never irrigated and the plant looks great! A very attractive plant with its pink new growth and in flower that is also a great nectar source for attracting hummingbirds and bees.
This species is widespread in Australia and can be found in the states of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, where it grows along the banks of rivers and streams as well as in dry montane locations. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'callos' meaning "beauty" and 'stemon' meaning stamens and the specific epithet translates from Latin to "like a willow tree". Because of the willow like aspect of the leaves another common name is Willow Bottle Brush and because of the pink new growth is also sometimes called Pink Tips. This species was a 1993 recipient of the Royal Horticulture Society's Award of Garden Merit.
The genus was named using the Greek words 'kallos' meaning "beautiful" and 'stemon' meaning "stamens" in reference to the long conspicuous and colorful stamens that characterize the flowers of this genus. Melaleuca and Callistemon have long been noted as closely related and separated on the basis that Callistemon stamens were free and those of Melaleuca were in bundles. In 2006, using DNA evidence, Australian botanist Dr. Lyndley Alan Craven of the Australian National Herbarium reclassified nearly all species of Callistemon as Melaleuca noting that Callistemon was insufficiently distinct from Melaleuca. For more information about this see our more detailed discussion about this name change on our Callistemon citrinus entry. Though this change makes this plant's name Melaleuca salicina, until such time that the new names have broad recognition in the California nursery trade we will still refer to these plants as Callistemon. We first grew this plant from 1990 until 1993 and our current plants are grown from seed from a plant purchased from us in 1992 that is now a beautiful specimen in the Australian Garden at Lotusland.
Information about Callistemon salignus displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.