Current status of Melaleuca and Callistemon

Llewellyn Jacobs - Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University.

Accurate invasive alien species lists are an important prerequisite for the effective management of invasive alien plants.

Presentation on an update of the status of potentially invasive Melaleuca and Callistemon species in South Africa and exploring the errors that have been perpetuated in the listing of species in these taxa.

Melaleuca parvistaminea is now clearly invasive with a distribution over 9000 ha, although another occurrence is suspected in the Tokai plantation in Table Mountain National Park but this will not hinder the proposed eradication plan.

Bottle Brush tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia) is highly invasive in other countries but no so in South Africa. However, two instances of naturalisation and six records of other plantings across the country are reason for concern.

Both species have historically had synonymy issues, prompting a closer look at identification of South Africa material.

We also suspect errors in listing of at least other two species Stiff leaved bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidus) and (Melaleuca armillaris) which calls for a careful review of records of taxa in these genera.

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