The Melaleuca Book

John Doran

  • Project code: PRJ-004698

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, August 13, 2010

  • Project completion date: Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • National Priority: NEPI-Industry building and connectivity


The opportunity to collate in book form the disparate information on the botany and oils of the commercially important plant genus Melaleuca was presented by 1) a detailed review of the botany and nomenclature of the genus Melaleuca by Craven and Lepschi , 2) collaboration by Brophy in analysing the foliar oils of many of the species and some for the first time, and 3) the availability of detailed species descriptions prepared by Craven for a volume of Flora of Australia which was never published. For completeness, it is the aim of this project to sample leaves and characterise the oils of 90 melaleuca species not yet sampled for their oils.
This project will support a major field trip to SA and southwest WA, the location of the vast majority of the 90 target species, in summer/autumn 2010 to obtain leaves. Oil extraction, chemical analysis and inclusion of the results in the draft text of the book will follow. The aim is to have the draft text in the hands of the Publisher by early 2012 with a view to publication mid-2012.
The book will be an essential reference for anyone with an interest in this versatile plant genus including scientists, foresters, field naturalists, horticulturists, apiarists and producers and distributors of melaleuca essential oils.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

John Doran

Objective Summary

The objectives of this project are to collect representative leaf samples of each of the remaining Melaleuca species that have not had their leaf oils analysed, extract the oils and carry out chemical analyses of these oils by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. The data so obtained will then be collated with data from the species already analysed to check for any patterns discerned within groups of species and identify any species that has a potentially commercially useful oil. All the oils data will be combined with relevant morphological data and prepared for publication in book form. If it is possible samples of the seven Melaleuca/Callistemon species occuring in New Caledonia will be obtained through international collaboration thus allowing a complete set of data to be obtained on the genus Melaleuca (species from Lord Howe Island, Papua-New Guinea and Indonesia having already been obtained and analysed).