METRO PLUS

Brush with Nature

Bottlebrush is a slow growing evergreen with attractive crimson stamens

Bottlebrush is a slow growing evergreen with attractive crimson stamens  

Plant a bottlebrush and add variety to your garden

A NATIVE of Australia, Callistemon citrinus is derived from the two Greek words, kallos meaning `beauty' and stemon referring to the `stamens', which are the most attractive and conspicuous part of the flower. Citrinus refers to the fragrant aroma produced when the leaves are crushed.

Bottlebrush is a slow growing evergreen tree with slender, graceful, drooping branches. The leaves are lanceolate, thick and leathery, gland-dotted and clustered near the ends of the twigs.

The flowers are sessile having five, greenish, minute petals that soon fall off exposing the numerous crimson red long stamens tipped with yellow anthers. The stamens in the inflorescence are so arranged that they resemble a bottlebrush and hence the name.

Brush with Nature

Sunbirds and bees pollinate the flowers. The fruit is a small woody cup or button shaped capsule opening at the apex to release its numerous minute seeds.

Adaptable species

C. citrinus is adaptable to a wide range of soils and climate and hence is widely distributed. The wood is very hard and heavy and is used for making toys, shoe-heels and decorative carvings. The oil extracted from the leaves and twigs is used as an expectorant and for the treatment of inflammation of nose and throat.

If your routine brush with Nature seems dull, consider reviving it by planting a bottlebrush in your garden.

PAULINE DEBORAH & RIDLING WALLER

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