Prickly Paperbark Tree

The paperbark trees at Booyong are breathtaking, and if you look closely you can see the magnificent patterns and textures – they are pieces of art, especially after some rain or under the light of a torch. The bark is formed by peeling sheets or layered papery bark and as it ages it turns charcoal in colour.

The prickly leaved paperbark tree (Melaleuca Styphelioides) is a tall tree that grows 8-10m, spreading 6-8m in width. Its leaves are alternate and ovate and there are 15-30 veins along the leaves which have pointed tips. The flowers are bottlebrush, white or cream and appear in spring and summer and the petals are circular and 2-3 mm in diameter.

The tree can be propagated by seed, and its prickly dark green foliage protects and attracts seed eating birds and insects. In urban gardens it can be pruned after flowering to retain its shape. It is a commonly used a street tree in towns and cities as it can also tolerate smog and pollution.