By NgUyen Quang Tan, University of Agriculture and Forestry, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Melaleuca cajuputi Powell
Tropical Asia, Australia, Central America and Florida.
An evergreen tree or shrub, very common in coastal areas. The woody tree, with a narrow crown, can reach 25 m in height and 40 cm in diameter. The shrub straggles along the ground.
Bark: thick, soft, shaggy, white, like paper. Leaves: 4-8 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, oil-containing.
Flowers: White, fragrant with a fluff of long stamens, copious nectar flow.
Flowering: two periods a year, from January to April and from July to August.
Wood: Hard and fairly heavy.
Melaleuca shrub: oil extract from the leaves is used in medicine, as an insect repellent, and in soap manufacturing.
Melaleuca tree trunks: used in construction and for fuelwood.
Melaleuca bark: used as smoker fuel. Also used as packing material.
Melaleuca honey: in Vietnam tens of tonnes of honey are harvested from Apis dorsata colonies by the rafter beekeeping technique. Up to 100 tonnes are harvested by professional Apis mellifera beekeepers each year.
[Bees for Development Jounal #48]