Melaleuca quinquenervia

Name and classification

Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake
Family Myrtaceae

Common names

broadleaf paperbark, punk tree, melaleuca

Disseminule

seed

Description

Fruit a capsule containing 200–300 seeds. Seeds angled, outline variable but most commonly narrowly triangular, 0.6–1.2 mm long, 0.2–0.3 mm wide, 0.1–0.3 mm thick, with ends usually truncate; cross section 4–5 sided. Testa glossy, straw-colored to brown, often brown-speckled, minutely granular. Hilum inconspicuous. Embryo spatulate; endosperm absent.

Identification considerations

Compare with:

Melaleuca leucadendra (L.) L. (non-FNW)

Melaleuca hypericifolia Sm. (non-FNW)

Melaleuca ericifolia Sm. (non-FNW)

Distribution

native to Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea; introduced to United States

Habitat

prefers wet, swampy ground but also grows on uplands; tolerates flooding

General information

Melaleuca quinquenervia is an evergreen tree 25–33 m tall. Seeds of M. quinquenervia were broadcast by airplane in Florida in the 1930s in an attempt to dry up the Everglades. As a result, the species is now a major threat to the Everglades and other wetlands in South Florida. The tree spreads rapidly, is fire adapted, and releases massive quantities of seed only upon disturbance such as fire, frost or pruning. Its tiny seeds are wind or water borne.

seeds

seeds

seeds, detail

seeds, detail