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Melaleuca leucadendra - (L.) L.

Common Name Paperbark, Weeping Paperbark
Family Myricaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found mainly on flat or very gentle topography, especially river flats, coastal plains or seasonal swamps, at elevations up to 800 metres[418 ].
Range Australasia - northern and western Australia to New Caledonia and Malaysia
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Melaleuca leucadendra Paperbark, Weeping Paperbark
Melaleuca leucadendra Paperbark, Weeping Paperbark


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covered with thick and white papery bark and can be up to 150 cm in diameter. It is moderately fast-growing and can survive forest fires. The leaves are alternate, wide, flat, and covered with fine hairs. The flowers are cream or white. The fruit is a woody capsule. Paperbark yields an essential oil used as food flavoring. The essential oil from the leaves has medicinal uses as well. In particular, it relieves spasms and expels internal parasites. It is used for bronchitis, tuberculosis, colds, sinusitis, gastric infections, roundworms, rheumatism, gout, acne, toothache, and skin diseases among others. It is also used in soaps and detergents, perfumery, and insect repellents. The fruits and leaves are used to make tea. The wood is hard and heavy, and ideal for boat or ship building, railway ties, posts, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Melaleuca leucadendra is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Birds.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cajuputi leucadendron (L.) A.Lyons Leptospermum leucodendron (L.) J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Meladendron


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Oil
Edible Uses: Oil

The essential oil is used as a flavouring in items such as candy, baked goods, condiments, relishes etc[238 , 301 ]. The fruits and leaves are used to make a tea[301 ].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

An essential oil obtained from the leaves contains several terpenoids including 50 - 60% of the strongly antiseptic cineole, betapinene and alpha-terpineol[254 ]. It is aromatic and stimulant with a strong camphoraceous aroma. It is expectorant, relieves spasms, increases perspiration and expels internal parasites[238 ]. It is used internally in the treatment of bronchitis, tuberculosis, colds, sinusitis, gastric infections and roundworms[238 ]. Externally, it is used to treat rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, acne, nasal congestion, sinusitis, toothache, chilblains and skin diseases[238 ]. The leaves and twigs can be harvested at any time of the year and used fresh, dried or the essential oil can be extracted[254 ]. This herb, especially in the form of the essential oil, is subject to legal restrictions in some countries[238 ].


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Other Uses


Coastal garden. Public open space. Street tree. Accent. Topiary. Other Uses An essential oil is obtained from the twigs and fresh leaves[46 ]. Called cajeput oil, it has an agreeable camphor-like aroma[46 ]. It is used in detergents, soaps, perfumery and insect repellents[238 ]. The wood is hard, heavy and close-grained[46 ]. Durable in moist soil, it is used for ship building, mine timber, boat building, railway ties, posts etc[46 , 418 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A plant of the lowland tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 800 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 28 - 37°c, but can tolerate 18 0- 40°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,400mm, but tolerates 650 - 1,600mm[418 ]. Prefers a moisture-retentive to wet, neutral to acid soil and a position in full sun[238 ]. Tolerates light and saline soils[238 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 8.5[418 ]. Plants are able to withstand periodic inundation of the soil and strong currents. Established plants are drought tolerant[418 ]. Plants are very wind-firm, able to tolerate salt-laden gales[418 ]. On some sites, the plant has the potential of escaping from cultivation and becoming a weed[418 ]. A moderately fast-growing plant[418 ]. Annual wood production potential is 10 - 16 cubic metres per hectare[418 ]. Trees usually survive forest fires[418 ].


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Seed (minuscule)

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Paperbark, Weeping Paperbark, Weeping River Teatree, Kayu puteh, Gelam, Med, Samed, Samet, Kayaputi, Cajaputi, Cajuputte, Cajuputa, Cadjeput, Kaiyappudai, cajeput tree, cajepute, cajuput, cajuput (melaleuca leucadendra), cajuput tree|lothsumbulu / weradi lothsumbulu, paper bark tree, river tea tree, weeping tea tree.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Indonesia; Australia ; Papua New Guinea, Asia, Australia, Burma, East Africa, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, SE Asia, Solomon Islands, Southern Africa, Suriname, Thailand, Vietnam, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Melaleuca alternifoliaTea TreeShrub6.0 8-11  LMHNM05 
Melaleuca bracteataRiver teatreeShrub6.0 0-0  LMHNM02 
Melaleuca hypericifoliaTea TreeShrub3.0 8-11  LMHSNM02 
Melaleuca linariifoliaFlax-Leaved Paper-Bark, Cajeput treeShrub10.0 8-11  LMHNM03 
Melaleuca thymifoliaThymeleaf melaleucaShrub1.0 8-11  LMHNM02 
Melaleuca uncinataBroom honeymyrtleShrub2.0 0-0  LMHNDM01 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Expert comment


(L.) L.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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