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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Myrtales

Familia: Myrtaceae
Subfamilia: Myrtoideae
Tribus: Melaleuceae
Genus: Beaufortia
Species: B. aestiva – B. anisandra – B. bicolor – B. bracteosa – B. cyrtodonta – B. decussata – B. elegans – B. empetrifolia – B. eriocephala – B. heterophylla – B. incana – B. interstans – B. macrostemon – B. micrantha – B. orbifolia – B. purpurea – B. schaueri – B. sparsa – B. sprengelioides – B. squarrosa

Beaufortia R.Br., , Hort. Kew., ed. 2 [W.T. Aiton] 4: 418. (1812)
Type species: Beaufortia decussata R.Br., Hort. Kew., ed. 2 [W.T. Aiton] 4: 418. (1812)

Note: Now sometimes accepted as a synonym of Melaleuca L., Mant. Pl. 1: 14 (1767), but this now appears to be a taxonomic opinion and it is commonly found as a segregate in Australian flora (Burbidge, 2016). Therefore, this taxon page must remain until consensus has been reached.

Brown, R. 1812. Hortus Kewensis; or, a Catalogue of the Plants Cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew 4: 418.
Burbidge, A.A. 2016. A taxonomic revision of Beaufortia (Myrtaceae: Melaleuceae). Nuytsia 27. PDF
Beaufortia in: Australian Plant Census (APC) 2021. IBIS database, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. Accessed: 2021 Sept. 11.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Beaufortia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Dec 3. Reference page.

Beaufortia is a genus of woody shrubs and small trees in the family Myrtaceae and is endemic to Southwest Australia. The genus Beaufortia is closely related to Melaleuca, Calothamnus, Regelia and several others, differing mainly in the way the anthers are attached to the stalks of the stamens, and in the way they open to release their pollen. Beaufortia anthers are attached at one end and open by splitting at the other.[3][4]


Plants in the genus Beaufortia, sometimes commonly known as bottlebrush are evergreen shrubs with very small, glandular, aromatic leaves usually oppositely arranged. The tallest are up to 3 m (10 ft) in height. Most are andromonoecious, meaning they have both male and bisexual flowers on one plant. The flowers are in spikelike or headlike inflorescences. The flower has five triangular sepals and five white, yellow, red, pink, or purple petals, which are sometimes hairy. The petals usually fall off as the flower opens, or shortly after that. The stamens are red or deep pink, arranged in five bundles and extend well beyond the petals, giving the inflorescence its colour. Unlike other closely related genera such as Melaleuca, the anthers are attached to the filament at their base and release their pollen through two curved slits on the other end. Flowering in most species occurs throughout the year but mostly between late spring and autumn. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule with three valves, each holding a winged seed.[5][6][7]

Taxonomy and naming

The first formal description of the genus Beaufortia was published in 1812 by Robert Brown in William Aiton's Hortus Kewensis.[8] It was followed by a description of the first-named species, Beaufortia decussata.[9] The genus was named for the English gardener and botanist Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort.[6] In Curtis's Botanical Magazine it is noted that "her grace possessed a flourishing botanical garden at her seat, at Badminton, in Gloucestershire".[10] Some taxonomists have suggested that Beaufortia along with Calothamnus, Conothamnus, Eremaea, Lamarchea, Petraeomyrtus, Phymatocarpus and Regelia should be included in the genus Melaleuca but the change has not been adopted by most herbaria.[5]

Distribution and habitat

All species of Beaufortia occur in the South West Botanical Province and about half the species also occur in the Eremaean province. Beaufortias are often found in sand plain and in heath, although Beaufortia sparsa usually grows in marshy places and is known by the common name swamp bottlebrush.[11]


Most beaufortias are serotinous, only reproducing from seed, released from the fruit after fire. Several species which occur in areas where fire is frequent, have a lignotuber which resprouts after fire. Honeyeaters (Family Meliphagidae) and the honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus) are thought to be the main pollinators but many kinds of insect have also been recorded on beaufortia flowers.[5]


Some species of Beaufortia are common within their range but several, including Beaufortia bicolor are classified as "Priority Three" by the Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife,[6] meaning that they is poorly known and known from only a few locations but is not under imminent threat.[12]
Use in cultivation

All the species of Beaufortia are worth trialling in the garden but few have been grown successfully in eastern Australia. They require full sun and excellent drainage and benefit from being grown over limestone. Grafting onto Kunzea ambigua may also improve the chance of success.[13]
Species list

The following is a list of the 22 species of Beaufortia recognised by the Australian Plant Census and Western Australian Herbarium as at March 2020:[2][14]

Beaufortia aestiva K.J.Brooks – Kalbarri beaufortia
Beaufortia anisandra Schauer – dark beaufortia
Beaufortia bicolor Strid - Badgingarra beaufortia
Beaufortia bracteosa Diels
Beaufortia burbidgeae A.A.Burb. – column beaufortia
Beaufortia cyrtodonta (Turcz.) Benth. – Stirling Range beaufortia
Beaufortia decussata R.Br. – gravel bottlebrush
Beaufortia elegans Schauer – elegant beaufortia
Beaufortia empetrifolia (Rchb.) Schauer – south coast beaufortia
Beaufortia eriocephala W.Fitzg. – woolly beaufortia
Beaufortia incana (Benth.) A.S.George –grey-leaved beaufortia
Beaufortia kwongkanicola A.A.Burb. – Lesueur beaufortia
Beaufortia macrostemon Lindl. – Darling Range beaufortia
Beaufortia micrantha Schauer – small-leaved beaufortia
Beaufortia orbifolia F.Muell. – Ravensthorpe bottlebrush
Beaufortia puberula Turcz. – hairy-leaved beaufortia
Beaufortia purpurea Lindl. – purple beaufortia
Beaufortia raggedensis A.A.Burb. Mount Ragged beaufortia
Beaufortia schaueri Schauer – pink beaufortia
Beaufortia sparsa R.Br. – swamp bottlebrush
Beaufortia sprengelioides (DC.) Craven – Shark Bay beaufortia
Beaufortia squarrosa Schauer – sand bottlebrush

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Beaufortia.

"Corymbia". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
"Beaufortia". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
Rye, Barbara Lynette (2009). "An interim key to the Western Australian tribes and genera of Myrtaceae" (PDF). Nuytsia. 19 (2): 313–323. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
Fagg, Murray. "Myrtaceae illustrations". Australian National Botanic Garden. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
Burbidge, Andrew A. (2016). "A taxonomic revision of Beaufortia (Myrtaceae: Melaleuceae)". Nuytsia. 27: 165–202.
"Beaufortia". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Kubitzki, Klaus, ed. (2010). The families and genera of vascular plants sapindales, cucurbitales, myrtaceae. Heidelberg: Springer. p. 237. ISBN 9783642143977. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
"Beaufortia". APNI. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
Brown, Robert (1812). Hortus Kewensis (2nd ed.). Paternoster Row, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown. p. 418. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
Sims, John (1840). Curtis's Botanical magazine (Vol. XLII). London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones. p. 1733. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
Wrigley, John W.; Fagg, Murray (1993). Bottlebrushes, paperbarks & tea trees, and all other plants in the Leptospermum alliance (1 ed.). Pymble, N.S.W.: Angus & Robertson. p. 47. ISBN 0207168679.
"Conservation codes for Western Australian Flora and Fauna" (PDF). Government of Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
Wrigley, John W.; Fagg, Murray (1983). Australian native plants : a manual for their propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping (2nd ed.). Sydney: Collins. pp. 182–183. ISBN 0002165759.
"Beaufortia". Western Australian Herbarium. Retrieved 8 August 2015.

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