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For other uses, see Melaleuca (disambiguation). This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (July 2010) Melaleuca M. armillaris foliage and flowers Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Myrtales Family: Myrtaceae Subfamily: Myrtoideae Tribe: Melaleuceae Genus: Melaleuca L. nom. cons. Species Over 200; see List of Melaleuca species Synonyms Cajuputi Adans. Callistemon R.Br. Gymnagathis Schauer Kajuputi Adans. Meladendron St.-Lag. Melaleucon St.-Lag. Melanoleuca St.-Lag. Myrtoleucodendron Kuntze[1] Melaleuca ( /ˌmɛləˈljuːkə/) is a genus of plants in the myrtle family Myrtaceae known for its natural soothing and cleansing properties. There are well over 200 recognised species, most of which are endemic to Australia.[2] A few species occur in Malesia and 7 species are endemic to New Caledonia.[2][3] The species are shrubs and trees growing (depending on species) to 2–30 m (6.6–98 ft) tall, often with flaky, exfoliating bark. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, ovate to lanceolate, 1–25 cm (0.39–9.8 in) long and 0.5–7 cm (0.20–2.8 in) broad, with an entire margin, dark green to grey-green in colour. The flowers are produced in dense clusters along the stems, each flower with fine small petals and a tight bundle of stamens; flower colour varies from white to pink, red, pale yellow or greenish. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous minute seeds. Melaleuca is closely related to the genus Callistemon, the main difference between the two is that the stamens are generally free in Callistemon but grouped into bundles in Melaleuca. Callistemon was recently placed into Melaleuca[citation needed]. In the wild, Melaleuca plants are generally found in open forest, woodland or shrubland, particularly along watercourses and the edges of swamps. The best-accepted common name for Melaleuca is simply melaleuca; however most of the larger species are also known as tea tree, and the smaller types as honey myrtles, while those species in which the bark is shed in flat, flexible sheets are referred to as paperbarks. The Tea tree is presumably named for the brown colouration of many water courses caused by leaves shed from trees of this and similar species (for a famous example see Brown Lake (Stradbroke Island)). The name "tea tree" is also used for a related genus, Leptospermum, also in Myrtaceae. One well-known melaleuca, Melaleuca alternifolia, is notable for its essential oil which is both anti-fungal, and antibiotic, while safely usable for topical applications. This is produced on a commercial scale, and marketed as Tea Tree Oil. In Australia, Melaleuca species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down. Melaleucas are popular garden plants, both in Australia and other tropical areas worldwide. In Hawaiʻi and the Florida Everglades, Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-leaved Paperbark) was introduced in order to help drain low-lying swampy areas. It has since gone on to become a serious invasive species with potentially very serious consequences being that the plants are highly flammable and spread aggressively. Melaleuca populations have nearly quadrupled in southern Florida over the past decade, as can be noted on IFAS's SRFer Mapserver Contents 1 Uses 1.1 Traditional Aboriginal uses 1.2 Modern uses 2 Weeds 3 See also 4 References 5 Footnotes 6 External links Uses Traditional Aboriginal uses Australian Aborigines used the leaves traditionally for many medicinal purposes, including chewing the young leaves to alleviate headache and for other ailments. Modern uses Scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil made from Melaleuca alternifolia is a highly effective topical antibacterial and antifungal, although it may be toxic when ingested internally in large doses or by children. In rare cases, topical products can be absorbed by the skin and result in toxicity.[citation needed] The oils of Melaleuca can be found in organic solutions of medication that claims to eliminate warts, including the Human papillomavirus. No scientific evidence proves this claim (reference: "Forces of Nature: Warts No More"). Melaleuca oils are the active ingredient in Burn-Aid, a popular minor burn first aid treatment (an offshoot of the brandname Band-Aid).[4] Melaleuca oils (tea tree oil) is also used in many pet fish remedies (such as Melafix and Bettafix) to treat bacterial and fungal infections.[citation needed] Bettafix is a lighter dilution of tea tree oil while Melafix is a stronger dilution. It is most commonly used to promote fin and tissue regrowth. The remedies are often associated with Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish) but are also used with other fish. Melaleuca bark is used to make a natural bio-degradable paper or papyrus which is considered by many to be a renewable resource and therefor much more environmentally friendly than modern paper farming or deforestation[citation needed]. Weeds The species Melaleuca quinquenervia was introduced to Florida in the United States in the early 20th century to assist in drying out swampy land and as garden plants. Once widely planted in Florida, it formed dense thickets and displaced native vegetation on 391,000 acres (1,580 km2) of wet pine flatwoods, sawgrass marshes, and cypress swamps in the southern part of the state. It is prohibited by DEP and listed as a noxious weed by FDACS.[5] Melaleuca quinquenervia became an invasive species that raised serious environmental issues in Florida’s Everglades and damaged the surrounding economy. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists from the Australian Biological Control Laboratory assisted in solving the problem by releasing biological controls in the form of insects that feed on this species. [1] These insects are natural predators of this species in Australia and help control the spread of the weed in the U.S. A paperbark in Melbourne Melaleuca quinquenervia bark showing the papery exfoliation from which the common name 'paperbark' derives Paperbark trees in Tasmania after sunset 19th century illustration of Melaleuca leucadendra See also List of Melaleuca species Poliopaschia lithochlora, a proposed agent for eradication References Takarada K et al. (2004). "A comparison of the antibacterial efficacies of essential oils against oral pathogens". Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 19 (1): 61–64. doi:10.1046/j.0902-0055.2003.00111.x. PMID 14678476.  Hammer KA et al. (2003). "Susceptibility of oral bacteria to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil in vitro". Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 18 (6): 389–392. doi:10.1046/j.0902-0055.2003.00105.x. PMID 14622345.  Hammer KA et al. (2003). "Antifungal activity of the components of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil". J. Appl. Microbiol. 95 (4): 853–860. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2672.2003.02059.x. PMID 12969301.  Oliva B et al. (2003). "Antimycotic activity of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil and its major components". Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 37 (2): 185–187. doi:10.1046/j.1472-765X.2003.01375.x. PMID 12859665.  Mondello F et al. (2003). "In vitro and in vivo activity of tea tree oil against azole-susceptible and -resistant human pathogenic yeasts". J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 51 (5): 1223–1229. doi:10.1093/jac/dkg202. PMID 12668571.  Footnotes ^ "Melaleuca L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-11-10.  ^ a b Craven, Lyn. "Melaleuca group of genera". Center for Plant Biodiversity Research. Retrieved 2008-04-08.  ^ "Genre Melaleuca L.". Endémía - Faune & Flore de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Retrieved 2008-04-08.  ^ "Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia [Maiden & Betche Cheel): Synonyms"]. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2010-12-08.  ^ "Melaleuca". Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted. National Park Service (United States). 27 June 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-13.  External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Melaleuca TAME Melaleuca Project - Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Melaleuca - Australian Native Plants Society (Australia)