Calothamnus longissimus

Calothamnus longissimus is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. It is a small, spreading shrub with unusually long, fine leaves and which produces clusters of red flowers in spring. (In 2014 Craven, Edwards and Cowley proposed that the species be renamed Melaleuca longissima.)[2]

Calothamnus longissimus
Calothamnus longissimus (leaves, flowers).JPG
Calothamnus longissimus growing in Manea Park, Bunbury.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Calothamnus
C. longissimus
Binomial name
Calothamnus longissimus

Melaleuca longissima Craven & R.D.Edwards


Calothamnus longissimus is an erect, stiff, dense or spreading shrub growing to a height of about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) with many branches and corky bark. Its leaves are fine but rigid, mostly circular in cross section, 150–300 millimetres (6–10 in) long and curved.[3][4][5][6]

The flowers are dark red and arranged in small spikes with the lower part of the flower embedded in the corky bark. The stamens are arranged in 4 claw-like bundles of unequal lengths - the upper two are longer and broader and the lower two lacking anthers. Flowering occurs in August to October and is followed by fruits which are woody capsules almost immersed in the corky bark.[3][5][6]

Calothamnus longissimus growth habit
Calothamnus longissimus fruits

Taxonomy and namingEdit

Calothamnus longissimus was first formally described by Victorian Government Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in 1862 in the third volume (part 21) of Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae.[1][7] The specific epithet (longissimus) is a Latin word meaning "longest".[8]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Calothamnus longissimus is found in the Avon Wheatbelt, Geraldton Sandplains and Swan Coastal Plain biogeographic regions[4] where it grows in kwongan.[3]


Calothamnus longissimus is classified as "not threatened" by the Western Australian government department of parks and wildlife.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Calothamnus longissimus". APNI. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  2. ^ Craven, Lyn A.; Edwards, Robert D.; Cowley, Kirsten J. (30 June 2014). "New combinations and names in Melaleuca (Myrtaceae)". Taxon. 63 (3): 666. doi:10.12705/633.38.
  3. ^ a b c Corrick, Margaret G.; Fuhrer, Bruce A. (2009). Wildflowers of southern Western Australia (3rd ed.). Kenthurst, N.S.W.: Rosenberg Publishing P/L. p. 115. ISBN 9781877058844. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Calothamnus longissimus". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  5. ^ a b Wrigley, John W.; Fagg, Murray (1983). Australian native plants : a manual for their propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping (2nd ed.). Sydney: Collins. p. 195. ISBN 0002165759.
  6. ^ a b Bentham, George; von Mueller, Ferdinand (1867). Flora Australiensis (Volume III). London: Lovell Reeve and Co. p. 174.
  7. ^ von Mueller, Ferdinand (1862). Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae (Volume 3:21). Melbourne. p. 31. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. ^ Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 494.