Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Melaleuca linariifolia-Cajeput Tree
Aparently this small tree is very adaptable, able to grow in swamps, yet drought tolerant. The large trunk on this one indicate that it has been in the UC Botanical Garden a long time, and the plant label indicates 1965. It has lots of white flowers right now, which look more like sea creatures that blossoms. They are small petals with bundles of stamens according to what I read. I am going to have to take a closer look. Although it is called a "paperbark" the bark has apparently never been used for paper. It has been used as a sleeping mat, bandage, and to cover branches to make a shelter. Another kind of paperbark, Melaleuca alternifolia, also known as the tea tree or ti tree, is used to create tea tree oil. The oil is an antibiotic and antifungal, but it is also an endocrine disruptor, so it is best not to use it on a regular basis.