Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as Niaouli or Broad-leaved Paperbark or the Paper Bark Tea Tree, is a medium sized tree of the allspice family, Myrtaceae. The plant is native to coastal Eastern Australia, in New South Wales and Queensland. It has become naturalized in the Everglades in Florida, where it is considered a serious weed by the USDA.
Melaleuca is used traditionally by indigenous Australians. A brew is made from the bruised young aromatic leaves to treat colds, headaches and general sickness. The steam distilled leaf oil of the cineole chemotype is also used externally for coughs, colds, neuralgia, and rheumatism. A nerolidol and linalool chemotype is also cultivated and distilled on a small scale for use in perfumery.
The flowers serve as a rich source of nectar for other organisms, including fruit bats, a wide range of insect and bird species such as the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus), the Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) and the Little Red Flying-fox (P. scapulatus), which all consume the nectar and flowers.
Melaleuca is known for its capability to withstand floods and droughts. If there is a canopy gap created by a flood or some other disturbance Melaleuca will establish to make use of the extra light. In physically disturbed sites, flourishing invaders have high colonization abilities. Melaleuca is constantly thinning itself of small branches and twigs and this causes many seeds to fall all the time, along with the detrius.