Recently we featured Totem Poles, Melaleuca decussata. The Dryland Tea-tree is another of the pretty melaleucas at the Cape. Both have a similar growth habit: lovely compact shrubs with elongated leaves about 1cm long. The clusters of flowers differ though in colour and shape, with the Dryland Tea-tree having white flowers, not forming the tight purple cylinder of the totem pole. Also their leaves are placed alternately, rather than opposite each other, along the rough-barked stems. And the fruit are smooth and spherical, (not like the little cups built into the stems of the totem pole!) Plant one of each maybe…the totem poles flower spring-summer, the dryland tea-tree in summer-autumn. The dryland tea-tree is a really important habitat shrub as it provides nectar when not much else is flowering. Check out all the insects on the flowers!