Botanical description.

— Species, salignus DC. Prodr. iii, 223 (1828).

The history of the species is as follows:—

Smith in Trans. Linn. Soc. iii, 272 (1797) first described this species under the name of Metrosideros saligna, as "follis alternis lanceolatis utrinque attenuatis mucronatis, floribus lateralibus confertis sessilibus glabris," and compares it with M. lanceolata (Callistemon lanceolatus). He remarked "that he had a suspicion that this might be the Metrosideros viminalis of Gaertner, but the original specimens of that species are very different, having linear- lanceolate leaves, not tapering at the ends, and downy flowers." The M. viminalis mentioned above has been mixed up in herbaria with C. lanceolatus, and Mr. Cheel has described it as a new species; see Part lxi, p. 15.

It is figured as Metrosideros saligna, "Willow-leaved Metrosideros," in Bot. Mag. t. 1821 (1816), and the additional references, Willd. Sp. Pl. ii, p. 956, and Hort. Kew ed. alt. iii, p. 185, and Persoon, Syn. ii, p. 26, are given. The statement is made that it was introduced into England by Sir Joseph Banks about the year 1788.

Then we have —

C. Salignum. Foliis lanceolatis utrinque acuminatis mucronatis adultis glabris, nervo medio pennivenoso, nervalis lateralibus margini approximatis, calycibus glabris. " Metrosideros saligna Smith (as quoted); Sims' Bot. Mag. t. 1821; Vent. Hort. Cels. t. 70; Bonpl. Nav. t. 4. Also " Flores pallide flavescentes. Stamina petalis sub-rotundis vix triplo longiora. (DC. Prod. iii, 223 [ 1828 ], which is the date of the inscription of the species as Callistemon. Sieber's specimen No. 320, Pls. Exs. is the type. This description is translated into English in Gen. Hist. Dichlamydeous Plants (Don) ii, 822 (1832) in the following words:—

Leaves lanceolate, acuminated at both ends, mucronate, glabrous in the adult state, with the middle nerve feather-veined, and the lateral nervules approximating the margins; calyces glabrous. Native of New Holland. Metrosideros saligna Smith, in Lin. trans. 3, p. 272; Vent. Hort. Cels. t. 70; Bonpl. Nav., t. 4; Sieb. Pl. Exsic. No. 320. Flowers pale yellow. Stamens hardly 3 — times the length of the petals which are roundish.

Willowy Callistemon. Fl., May, July. Ct. 1788. Shrub 4 to 6 feet.

Mueller, in Fragm. iv, 54 (1864), described it in Latin and gives a copious synonymy, enumerating as forms, typica, C. paludosus, O. viridiflorus, C. Sieberi.

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Bentham then described it in 1866:—

A tall shrub or small tree attaining sometimes 30 to 40 feet, and often undistinguighable in foliage however, usually more acute, more distinctly penniand inflorescence from C. lanceolatus; the leaves are, however veined, and the nerve-like margins often more prominent; in some forms, however, the venation is, on the contrary, more obscure.

Spikes in the common form glabrous, more rarely the rhachis and calyces pubescent or villous.

Flowers generally rather smaller than in C. lanceolatus, the calyx-lobes more ovate.

Stamens pale yellow or rarely light pink, usually rather under 1/2 in. long.

Fruiting-calyx and capsule as in C. lanceolatus. (B. Fl. iii, l20).

Mr. E. Cheel has re-described it from Port Jackson specimens as follows:—

A small tree with papery bark and flexile branches, with a more or less drooping habit.

Leaves lanceolate, much narrowed towards the base, two to three inches long, and a quarter or rarely exceeding half an inch broad, pubescent when young, which is of a rufous colour, but quite glabrous when mature. Venation rather prominent at all stages, but more so in dried specimens, the lateral veins running somewhat obliquely to the marginal nerves.

Oil glands somewhat obscure on the upper and lower surface of the leaves, but if held up to the light are seen to be very numerous.

Flower-spike usually about one to two inches long, mostly glabrous.

Bracts ovate-lanceolate, glabrous, from 2 1/2–5 1/2 lines long and 1/2–1 1/2 lines broad, pale-green at first but with age becoming brownish in colour, especially at the tips, faintly striated, deciduous.

Calyx-tube semi-ovate to sub-cylindrical, glabrous, or nearly so, lobes very deciduous.

Petals semi-ovate, rarely exceeding 3/4 — 1 line in length, and of a pale-greenish or pallid colour.

Stamens pale or creamy-yellow colour, slightly over half an inch long. Anthers slightly darker in colour than the filaments.

Fruits nearly globular in general outline with a slightly contracted orifice, about 2–2 1/2 lines in diameter.