A member of the very large family Myrtaceas, the genus Melaluca is widespread in Australia, from the tropical north where paperbark swamps are commons, through the arid inland, often in sandy or gravelly soils, to the west, cold coastal area of western Tasmania. Whilst Australia is the home of the most Melaleuca species, a few tropical ones extend beyond Australia to the north, where they are found in places such as New Guinea, New Caledonia and Malesia. It was in fact from one of these species found outside Australia that the generic name was derived.
The genus was founded in the eighteenth century by Carolus Linnaeus and named from the Greek melas meaning black and leucos, white, apparently because of the tree’s black trunk (probably charred by fire) and white-barked upper branches.
The 255 species described for Australia, however, include 36 species which are currently Callistemon, and because this change has not yet been published or accepted, these 36 species have been omitted from this new edition.
This book includes the 219 described melaleuca species, the tree named above in the M. uncinata study, 16 subspecies, 5 varieties and 10 garden forms and u-named species, a total of 253 different melaleucas. it totally revises and combined relevant information which was published in my earlier books on melaleucas