Shrub or small tree to about 8 m tall, generally with pendulous branches. Leaves linear to narrowly elliptic with one side straighter than the other, 3-7 cm long, 3-7 mm wide. Flower spikes 4-10 cm long, 3-6 cm wide; mostly spring to early summer. Filaments bright red, fused into a ring at the base and shed as a unit, the anthers dark-coloured. Fruit 5-6 mm wide. Syn. C. speciosus of authors other than (Sims) Sw.
Widely grown, with various habit forms and numerous cultivars.This species and its cultivars are easily recognised by the flat-sided fruits and stamens that are united into a ring at the base (often shed as a unit).
C. glaucus, Albany Bottlebrush, from WA is occasionally cultivated; it has stamens fused into 5 irregular bundles, and brushes 5-7.5 cm wide.
CULTIVARS Most of the cultivars of Callistemon are selections or hybrids involving C. citrinus or C. viminalis. As the true origin is often uncertain, all cultivars are treated together here rather under particular species. In the absence of detailed descriptions, cultivars are frequently difficult to identify and names have often been incorrectly applied; many are no longer available and hybridisation is said to occur frequently. The following is a selection of the more popular cultivars grown in SE Australia.
C. 'Great Balls Of Fire' PVJ 4(1)10.
Source: (2002). Myrtaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Dense shrub. Flowers burgundy at first, fading to deep purple. Selected clone grown from seed of 'Reeves Pink', registered with ACRA in 1978.
Low grower to about 60 cm tall, with silvery new growth. Flowers cream-yellow, mostly late spring and early summer but also autumn. A chance seedling in a batch of seed raised at Austraflora Nsy, Montrose, Vic in 1973 and first released in 1976. Syn. 'Austraflora Candle Glow'.
Flower spikes long, pinkish red fading to pink. Origin uncertain but possibly a selection of an undescribed species from the New England area of NSW. Syn. 'Guyra Hybrid'.
A lowish shrub with bright red flower spikes. A dwarf selection from a batch of seedlings of C. viminalis. Int.1980s.
Flowers prolific, red; almost continuous although most abundant in spring and autumn. Probably a form of c. viminalis, collected by George Trapnell from the Dawson River in c Qld.
Open shrub with flowers pinkish red in short clusters. A selection made by Glen Wilson and Rodger Elliot from a plant growing at Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood,Vic, 1969.
Flowers spikes purplish red; mostly in spring. Seedling raised by Mrs Sylvia Peach, owner of a Brisbane nsy.
An exceptionally large, white-flowered selection of c. pallidus int. in the 1980s. ['Clearview Father Christmas']
Shrub with prolific red flowers, mostly in the spring, and slightly pendulous branches. Possibly a hybrid of c. comboynensis with c. viminalis. A selection by Roy Whalan of Whalan's Nsy, Newcastle, promoted in 1981 and also released in Japan. ['Opal Fire', 'Wildfire of Newcastle']
Compact shrub with red flowers in long spikes. Selected from a batch of seed of 'Austraflora Firebrand' by Alex and Barbara Hansa of Fairhill Nsy, Yandina, Qld.
Small weeping tree with bright red flowers. C. viminalis is involved in its ancestry. A long-established cultivar named after the wife of one of the Hazlewood brothers, who managed the Hazlewood Nsy in Sydney.
Shrub to 4 m tall with slightly pendulous branches. Leaves to 13 cm long, 1.5 cm wide. Named after Laurie Harkness of Gawler, sa. Arose as a seedling of a plant purchased in 1937 as c. citrinus from Kemp's Nsy, Adelaide, but appearing more closely related to c. viminalis. First propagated at Gawler, sa, in 1948. Registered with acra in 1978. ['Gawler', 'Gawler's Hybrid']
Small tree with deep red flowers in multiple heads mostly in the spring. A seedling selection from plants grown at Kings Park and Bot. Garden, Perth, made by Ernie Winter, nurseryman and later supervisor. C. viminalis is probably in the parentage.
A dense, compact low shrub with small leaves and flowers in dense clusters. A selection of c. pityoides collected at high altitude in the Cobberas in ne Vic. ['Cobberas Dwarf']
A dwarf compact shrub to 1 m tall, with bluish leaves and dark red flower spikes. Raised by Ken Dunstan, Alstonville, nsw, in the 1980s.
Flower spikes pinkish mauve; often several together in late spring and summer. A seedling selection from 'Reeve's Pink' produced by Glen Wilson, Melbourne. Registered with acra in 1978.
S Selection' Narrow-leaved shrub with pendulous branches and deep red flowers in spring, summer and autumn.a seedling variant of c. subulatus raised by Eric Packer of Bankstown, nsw, and available in wa for many years.
Flower spikes clustered, deep pink in spring.a seedling selection made by the wa Wildflower Society, probably with c. viminalis parentage.
A weeping, rounded shrub with reddish flowers and blue-green leaves reddish at first. Int. George Trapnell as a selection of c. viminalis from near Pindi Pindi, Qld.
The red brushes often occur in multiples in spring, summer and autumn. A form of c. viminalis found by Jim Howie of Brisbane.
S Pink' Flowers pink (fading with age) in clusters of brushes in spring and sometimes autumn. A seedling selection from Reeve's Nsy, Cheltenham, Vic, by Glen Wilson in 1957-8, probably with c. citrinus in the parentage.
A seedling selection of a form of c. viminalis collected at Wappa Falls, se Qld.
Compact neat habit. Flowers small and red, mostly in spring. A selection made in the wild from Running River near Townsville, Qld. Int. Bob Reid's Nsy, Townsville.
A rounded shrub with brilliant red flowers, mostly in late spring, originating either in the Royal Bot. Gds, Kew, uk, or in New Zealand in the 1960s.
This is c. recurvus.
At least 3 different mauvish-flowered cultivars have been sold under this name.The most commonly available one is probably C. citrinus, although C. rugulosus also appears to have a mauvish-flowered form also sold under this name.
Originated in Kings Park, Perth, and has reddish pink flower clusters towards the end of the branches in spring.