Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata)
This tree, common on Rottnest and Garden islands, is known by many as Rottnest tea-tree. It is able to grow closer to the ocean than almost any other tree, withstanding the limy soils and very salty winds. It produces a dense mass of foliage, shielding the individual leaves from the deposition of salt. In stands, the tree canopies combine in a single, almost unbroken layer.
Moonah is, however, killed by fire, and too frequent fires on the mainland coast have reduced its occurrence there.
Moonah has a wide distribution, occurring on the west coast from Shark Bay southwards, and on the south coast eastwards into South Australia and Victoria. It can also be found scattered through inland regions of southern Australia.
© Text and photographs: Robert Powell