Melaleuca quinquenervia
Federal Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant

Common Name: punktree 
Type: Tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Native Range: Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 25.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
This plant is listed as a noxious weed under the Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1974 (7 U.S.C. 2802 ©) and as such may be moved into or through the United States only under permit from the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Program, and under conditions that would not involve a danger of dissemination.


Native to USDA Zones 9-11 where it thrives in moist wetland areas. Grows well in lowland areas, swamps, along river banks and in locations with standing water, but also tolerates drier upland soils. Best in full sun. Seed is disbursed by wind and water.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Melaleuca quinquevervia, commonly known as melaleuca, cajeput tree, punk tree, paper bark tea tree or white bottlebrush tree, is primarily native to Australia where it is typically found in swamps and wet plains in eastern coastal areas from Sidney north to New Guinea. It typically grows 25-40' tall and to 15-30' wide, but may grow to 70' tall or more. This is a narrow, fast-growing (to 6' per year), evergreen tree with a compact crown, slender trunk, pendulous young branches, brownish-white papery bark that peels in layers, leathery lanceolate dull green leaves (to 4" long) and tiny creamy white flowers which bloom in cylindrical bottlebrush-like spikes (to 6" long) from early summer into fall. Flowers are followed by woody seed capsules, each of which contains 200-300 seeds. A single tree can produce 20 million seeds per year. In 1906, this tree was introduced into Florida (at Biscayne Bay) as an ornamental. In 1936, a massive amount of seed was disbursed into the Florida Everglades by airplane for purposes of creating forest areas. Notwithstanding early efforts to encourage growth, this tree is now considered to be one of Florida's most significant noxious weeds. It has proved over time to be aggressively invasive in southern Florida, particularly in the Everglades where it has formed dominant and sometimes impenetrable forest areas that have crowded out native plants. It is classified in Florida as a noxious weed and as a prohibited aquatic plant - class 1. It is also included on the Federal Noxious Weed list.

Genus name comes from the Greek words melas meaning black and leukos meaning white. Often the trees have a black trunk and white branches.

Specific epithet means five-nerved.


Invasive plant is some parts of USDA Zones 9-11. Bark can cause a skin rash. Flowers cause respiratory problems, head ache and nausea in some individuals.


Not recommended for planting in areas where it is likely to be invasive.