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Malaleuca - Malaleuca quinquenervia
Family: Myrtaceae

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TPIUC

Description

This is an evergreen tree with a slender, much-branched, somewhat columnar crown. The bark is thick, spongy, whitish at first, exfoliating in buffish to pale cinnamon-colored, with many papery layers. The leaves are aromatic, simple, stiff, lanceolate to oblanceolate, very short petiolate, 4-12 cm long, 0.6-2.5 cm wide, arranged in five spiral rows. The blade tips are pointed or narrowly rounded, blades at first densely silvery, silky, appressed pubescent, later glabrous, dull green on both surfaces, and dotted with reddish punctations. Principal veins number ca. 5, mostly parallel. Flowers are white, crowded in terminal spikes or panicles of spikes on woody axes, the stamens numerous and conspicuous giving the inflorescence a bottle-brush aspect. Fruit is a woody capsule with many (ca. 250) very tiny seeds.

Interesting facts

The flowering twigs resume growth after flowering and during maturation of the fruits, as often as three times in a year on a given twig. It has been estimated that a single 10-m-tall open-grown tree produces over 20 million seeds in its capsules. Under some conditions, large tufts or clumps arise from the underground roots for some distance from the stem. The growth rate of the trees is impressive, amounting to meters per year in some habitats.

Trees can invade many types of habitats in south Florida. Death of the aerial portion of trees results in both seed release and sprouting. Under proper conditions, seeds readily germinate, and, once established, trees form a dense canopy, shading out or preventing establishment of other species. Trees colonize vast aquatic and wetland areas, effectively preventing their use for any activities. Water and nutrient uptake by these trees is a problem in south Florida. This species is listed as a Florida Prohibited Aquatic Plant.


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Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

 

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