I am so pleased to have been sent information about a Callistemon species which I had understood to be still unnamed. (see my article Feb 2011).
Apparently this very local plant was given a name in 2009 by Lyn Craven, working for CSIRO at the Australian National Herbarium. He has at last sorted out a number of closely related plants, establishing that this one, which is only known to occur in the blacksoil country from Oakey creek to Clifton, is a separate species. It was described and named from a specimen collected in 1991 on the western side of Brookvale Park Road, 10k west of Oakey, by Betty Ballingall.
Its new name, "Melaleuca quercina" requires a little explanation.
The plants that so many of us know as Callistemons have been moved into the Melaleuca genus which explains the first part of its name. All the "callistemons" are now officially melaleucas.
The second part, “quercina” is a rather dry little botany joke. Quercus is the Latin name for the trees we Australians call “English oaks”, and their relatives, so quercina refers to the plant’s habitat. Oakey Creek's name really has nothing to do with oaks of the Quercus kind, which is part of the joke, of course. It, and the town of Oakey which stands on its banks, got their name from the river she-oaks Casuarina cunninghamiana which once lined the creek.
If you want to be politically correct you can spell them “she-oke”, which is the modern approved spelling. The people who gave them the name in the first place didn’t care about political correctness. They named them after the familiar English oaks because of a similarity between the timbers, both of which, when quarter-sawn, have prominent and decorative medullary rays. Adding “she” to “oak” was, I am sorry to say, the way those men expressed the perceived inferiority of Casuarina timber.
So the link between Melaleuca quercina and any actual Quercus is a very tenuous one indeed - but but I like it!
I suggest that, for a common name, we could settle for calling it "Oakey bottlebrush".