Callistemon_serpentinus.jpg (46381 bytes)Callistemon serpentinus: is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is an upright shrub that is said to reach a maximum height of four metres. Specimens in our garden are about two metres tall, three years after planting. The bark is papery and flaking. Leaves average about 40 millimetres long by five millimetres wide with visible oil glands.

Yellow flowers are held in spikes that are about six centimetres long and appear in late spring and early summer. Flower spikes are both prominent and conspicuous. Their colour is not common in the Callistemons.

Callistemon serpentinus is a rare bottlebrush that is found in the vicinity of the Barraba district of northern New South Wales. There is a population around the Woods Reef asbestos mine near Barraba. The species is found on serpentine soils; hence the species name. Perhaps a common name could be the Woods Reef Bottlebrush.

Callistemon serpentinus could be grown in hedges and screens with other bottlebrushes.

At one stage Callistemon serpentinus was moved to the Melaleucas and became known as M. serpentina. Due to some botanical uncertainty the species is now back with the Callistemons.

The Woods Reef Bottlebrush is considered vulnerable because populations are small and may be under threat from agricultural development. There is also a move to clean up the asbestos mine area and this may pose a threat to the species.

Propagate from seed and cuttings. If this species growing with other bottlebrushes then perhaps cutting propagation may be the way to go. There is some evidence that Callistemons may hybridise. Cuttings will ensure that this attractive comes true to type.