Crimson Bottlebrush

Scientific Name: Callistemon citrinus

Fact Box:

  • Order: Myrtales
  • Family: Myrtaceae
  • Genus: Callistemon
  • Species: C. citrinus


Callistemon means “beautiful stamens,” and citrinus refers to the scent of citrus fruits (e.g. lemon) that comes from the plant’s leaves. The plant gets its common name, crimson bottlebrush, from the cylindrical shape of the flower, which has numerous red spikes sticking out of it, like a brush used to clean a bottle.

Part of the myrtle family, the crimson bottlebrush is a native to Australia and is common in temperate regions there. Aboriginals in Australia made a drink out of the flower because of its health benefits; the Jamaicans, too, used the plant as a type of medicine.

A tree or shrub, the crimson bottlebrush prefers to live near the coast or in damp locations — bordering swamps, rivers, and streams. Interestingly, the flower and the leaves of the crimson bottlebrush are used to make a tan or red dye. Frequently cultivated in other countries, this shrub attracts insects and birds, such as hummingbirds.