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Callistemon speciosus (Sims) DC.

Modern name

Callistemon speciosus (Sims) Sweet


Metrosideros speciosa Sims

A large shrub or small tree to 15 ft high with stout, red-brown branches densely furnished with stiff, leathery, linear-elliptic leaves, pointed at the apex, tapered to a narrow base, 3 to 5 in. long and 38 to 12 in. wide; venation prominent. Spikes dense, 4 to 6 in. long and 212 to 3 in. wide; stamens rich brilliant crimson with golden anthers, about 1 in. long, inserted on the rim of a cup-shaped receptacle which is densely white-hairy on the outside; sepals also hairy on the back. Fruit half-spherical, 14 in. long and 14 to 716 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 1761.

A native of W. Australia. It is at least the equal of C. citrinus in the beauty of its spikes. As seen in cultivation the leaves are usually of a rather glaucous grey-green, but this is apparently not a constant character of the species. Some plants in cultivation as “C. speciosus” are a form of C. citrinus.

C. phoeniceus Lindl. – Another W. Australian species, allied to the preceding. It is a rather diffuse shrub 3 to 8 ft high with slender branches that are brownish or reddish at first, later grey, rather loosely clad with linear or linear-elliptic leaves, acute at the apex, long-tapered at the base, 112 to 312 in. long and 38 to 58 in. wide. Inflorescence commonly 2 to 212 in. long but sometimes 3 to 312 in., and about 2 in. wide.; stamens rich crimson; receptacles 18 in. long, glabrous like the sepals. Fruits deeply cupular to almost globose, 316 in. long, 14 in. across. Easily distinguished from C. speciosus by its slender branches, smaller leaves, inflorescences, and fruits, and by its glabrous receptacles and sepals. In the Edinburgh Botanic Garden a specimen of this species flourished in a sheltered border in front of the planthouses for more than twenty years.



Other species in the genus