Medicinal and Aromatic Plants—Industrial Profiles


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POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
249
nanophylla gives an oil in 1.7% yield in which the major compounds are the two ß-triketones
flavesone (24–42%) and leptospermone (10–25%) accompanied by a-pinene (24–40%)
(Brophy 1998). There is also a record of a chemical variety of M. dealbata producing an oil
in 1.5% yield in which the major compound was leptospermone (70%) (Lassak and Southwell
1977). Oils rich in polyketones such as leptospermone are being used in body care products
because of their powerful anti-microbial properties (Joulain 1995).
SPECIES DIGESTS
Melaleuca acacioides
M. acacioides occurs as a shrub or small tree, 4–10m tall, and may develop a multistemmed
habit when open-grown. It is found in coastal and sub-coastal (usually saline and seasonally
flooded) habitats in far northern Queensland, the north of the Northern Territory and islands
of the Torres Strait in Australia and extends to southern Papua. It has potential for production
of posts and small poles, fuelwood and windbreaks on difficult sites near the coast.
M. acacioides produced an essential oil, in 0.2–0.4% yield (based on fresh leaves), which
was almost entirely composed of sesquiterpenes. The oil has a distinctive pleasant aroma
which is associated with the sesquiterpene alcohol fraction. The main components were ß-
selinene (21–30%) and a-selinene (53–54%). The next most abundant compounds were
selen-11-en-4-ol (6–8%), d-cadinene (0.9–6%), ß-caryophyllene (1–2%), globulol (0.7–
1%) as well as some unidentified oxygenated sesquiterpenes in the range 0.1–3%.
Monoterpenes were very poorly represented. Table 1 gives a typical oil analysis.
Table 1 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca
acacioides
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
250
This oil has potential in perfumery and also as a source of selinenes which are important
components of celery seed oil.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1987, 1989, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany)
Barlow 1986, 1988, Byrnes 1985.
Melaleuca alsophila
M. alsophila usually occurs as a small tree to 10m in height, sometimes multi-stemmed, with
white papery bark. It is found in north western Australia and is common on river banks, on the
margins of mud flats and in seasonally inundated saline depressions. It was previously a
subspecies of M. acacioides and could be considered for planting on similar sites.
There appear to be two chemotypes of M. alsophila, with varying oil yield. One chemotype
is rich in 
α-pinene and/or 1,8-cineole and gives a low oil yield, while the other chemotype
contains significant amounts of neral, geranial and terpinen-4-ol and gives a higher oil
yield.
Chemotype I contains a-pinene (8–65%), 1,8-cineole (15–66%) as its major compounds,
while there are significant amounts of limonene (1–3%), E-ß-ocimene (0.8–12%),
pinocarvone (0.3–5%), and trans-pinocarveol (1–17%). Sesquiterpenes, while numerous,
were of little consequence in this oil. The oil yield of this chemotype was 0.04–0.1% on a
fresh weight basis.
The second chemotype contained major amounts of neral (2–10%), geranial (2–19%),
terpinen-4-ol (13–32%), a-terpineol (1–7%), p-cymene (2–40%, the majority>20%) and
geraniol (1–3%). The oil yield of this second chemotype was 0.1–0.6% on a fresh weight
basis. 
Table 2
 gives typical analyses for the two chemotypes.
Trees from a further location appeared to be intermediate between these two chemotypes.
In this case the major compounds were 1,8-cineole (28–39%), terpinen-4-ol (13–16%), a-
terpineol (4–7%), E-methyl cinnamate (1–12%) and globulol (1–3%). The oil yield in this
case was 1–1.6% on fresh leaves.
This species has the potential to produce oils as a source of a-pinene, cineole, citral or
terpinen-4-ol, depending on the genetic material developed for production.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1987, 1989, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany)
Byrnes 1985, Barlow 1986, 1988.
Melaleuca bracteata
M. bracteata is typically a large shrub or small bushy tree (5–10 m) but may reach 20 m in
height. It has small prickly leaves and dark grey hard bark. M. bracteata is one of the most
widely distributed species of the genus in Australia occurring in five States. It is frequently
found growing along watercourses on rather heavy-textured deep clays. M. bracteata makes
an excellent shelter tree with potential for small posts and poles.
M. bracteata has been shown to exist in four chemical forms, in yields of 0.1–1.2%
based on fresh leaves. These are forms in which the aromatic ethers (I) elemicin, (II) E-
isoelemicin, (III) E-methyl isoeugenol or (IV) methyl eugenol predominate in the oil. In all
cases, no matter which component predominates (>40%), the other three were present in
significantly lesser amounts.
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS 251
In all chemotypes there were lesser amounts (up to a maximum of approximately 30%)
of mono- and sesquiterpenes present. Of these compoundsß-caryophyllene, 
α-farnesene,
α-phellandrene and α-pinene appear to be the major contributors. Also present in the oil
were small, but significant, quantities of E-methyl cinnamate (0.1–9%) which no doubt
gives the oil its sweet and fruity odour. The oil yield was generally low (0.1% on a dry
weight basis) but one source from a species/provenance trial at Gympie (from seed collected
north of Alice Springs) gave an oil yield of 0.7–1.2% on a fresh leaf basis. 
Table 3
 gives
typical analyses for the four chemotypes.
The oils from these chemotypes are potential sources of the aromatic ethers elemicin, E-
isoelemicin, E-methyl isoeugenol and methyl eugenol.
Table 2 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca alsophila
Copyright © 1999 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) N.V. Published by license under the Harwood Academic Publishers imprint,
part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
252
Table 3 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca bracteata
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS 253
References: (Chemistry) Baker and Smith 1910, Brophy et al. 1989, Cosgrove and
Thain 1948, Guenther 1950, Aboutabl et al. 1991, Penfold and Willis 1954, Brophy and
Doran 1996; (Botany) Blake 1968, Byrnes 1986, Carrick and Chorney 1979.
Melaleuca citrolens
M. citrolens is a small tree to 7 m in height or rarely a large shrub with furrowed, firm or
slightly papery bark. It occurs in northern Australia usually in open forests, on sandy, stony
or loamy soils. It has potential to produce posts and rails and the lemon-scented chemotype
may have scope for development as a commercial essential oil.
M. citrolens has been shown to exist in three definite, possibly four, chemical forms.
These chemotypes are characterised by the presence of (I) 1,8-cineole, (II) piperitenone,
(III) neral and geranial and (IV) citronellal in significant amounts in the oils. The oils are
produced in 1.6–3.1% yield (based on fresh leaves).
Chemotype (I) contained 1,8-cineole (34–50%) and terpinolene (10–20%) as major
components in the oil. Other compounds present in significant quantities were 
α-pinene
(2–5%), 
α-phellandrene (2–5%), limonene (2–4%), terpinen-4-ol (0.3–6%), ß-caryophyllene
(trace–5%), a-terpineol (1–7%) and globulol (1–5%). The oil yield of this chemotype was
1.5–2.4% on an air-dry weight basis.
Chemotype (II) gave an oil in which the major components were 1,8-cineole (8–32%),
terpinolene (13–27%) and piperitenone (9–14%). These were accompanied by lesser amounts
of 
α-thujene (4–7%), α-phellandrene (59%), γ-terpinene (2–11%), terpinen-4-ol (2–4%)
and 
α-terpineol (2–5%). The oil yield of this chemotype was 2.9–6.1% on an air-dry weight
basis.
Chemotype (III) contained neral (7–16%), geranial (9–26%), 1,8-cineole (12–28%) and
terpinolene (0.1–7%) as major compounds. The oil yield in this case was 1.3–3.9% on an
air-dry weight basis.
Chemotype (IV) contained 1,8-cineole (1–12%), citronellal (20–30%), isopulegol (4–
13%), geranial (trace–22%), neral (9–14%) and geraniol (0.7–2%) as major compounds.
The oil yield of this chemotype was 1.9–3.1% on an air-dry weight basis. 
Table 4
 gives
typical analyses for oils from the four chemotypes.
The latter two oils of this species have potential for development in the perfumery industry
as low grade citral and citronellal oils respectively.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Clarkson 1989, Brophy et al. 1989, Southwell and
Wilson 1993, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Barlow 1986.
Melaleuca dissitiflora
M. dissitiflora is a tall bushy shrub growing up to 5 m in height with erect or spreading
branches and papery grey bark. It is found in sandy creek beds in the Flinders Ranges of
South Australia as well as elsewhere in the north of that State and in the Northern Territory
and western Queensland. It is a useful ornamental and low shelter belt species for dry areas.
M. dissitiflora exists in two chemical forms, obtained in yields of 0.7–2.1% based on
fresh leaves. Chemotype (I) contains, as a major compound, 1,8-cineole (63–66%), with
lesser amounts of limonene (5–7%), 
α-pinene (1–2%), terpinolene (3–4%), terpinen-4-ol
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
254
Table 4 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca citrolens
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
255
(1–7%) and 
α-terpineol (4–9%). The oil yield of this chemotype was 1.9–2.2%, based on
dry leaf. Chemotype (II) contains as a major compound terpinen-4-ol (38–52%). This was
accompanied by lesser amounts of 
α-pinene (2–11%), ß-pinene (0.5–15%), sabinene (1–
15%), 1,8-cineole (1–8%), 
γ-terpinene (12–18%), terpinolene (2–4%) and α-terpineol (1–
3%). The oil yield of this chemotype, based on air-dry leaf, was 1.4–4.2%. Neither chemotype
contained sesquiterpenes in any significant amount. Table 5 lists typical analyses of the
two chemotypes.
The cineole form has potential as a eucalyptus type oil. Tea tree oil producers have
sought to develop the terpinen-4-ol form as an arid zone source for the commercial “Oil of
Melaleuca, terpinen-4-ol type”.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Lassak 1983, Brophy et al. 1989, Williams and
Lusunzi 1994, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Byrnes 1986.
Table 4 (Continued)
Table 5 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca dissitiflora
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
256
Melaleuca ericifolia
M. ericifolia is a shrub to small tree which has corky bark and leaves approximately
1mm wide and 7–15mm long. It grows in heath and dry sclerophyll forest, along stream
banks and low-lying coastal swamps. Its range is from the Hastings River in NSW to
central Victoria in eastern mainland Australia and also in Tasmania (Byrnes 1986; Wilson
1991).
The oil from this species has been known for over a century; the first report being by
Joseph Bosisto in 1862 (mentioned in Baker and Smith 1922). Investigations at this time
revealed that the oil was “a very limpid and almost colourless oil, partaking much of ‘cajuput’
flavour; that with age it improved greatly giving more the aroma of flowers”. Baker and
Smith (1922) reinvestigated the oil of this species and determined that the oil contained 1,8-
cineole (<10%) and terpineol (~30%). Penfold and Morrison (1935) could find no a-terpineol
but showed that (+)-linalool was the characteristic component. A subsequent investigation
by Hellyer (1957) confirmed the presence of linalool at approx. 25%, with 1,8-cineole
(21%) and ‘terpenes’ (approx. 15%) also being present. Later McKern and Willis (1957)
stated that the linalool content was 30–40%.
A more recent examination of the oil of this species (Brophy 1998) showed that the oil,
isolated in 0.8–2.0%, contained linalool (23–40%), 1,8-cineole (5–26%) and terpinolene
(5–25%) as major components. These compounds were accompanied by lesser amounts of
α-pinene (0.5–10%), γ-terpinene (2–6%) and α-terpineol (3–5%). Sesquiterpenes did not
account for more than 10% of the overall oil, the principal contributors being aromadendrene,
globulol and viridiflorol (each <2%). A complete list of compounds detected in oil of this
species is given in 
Table 6
.
This species is a potential source of linalool rich tea tree oils.
References: (Chemistry) Baker and Smith 1922, Penfold and Morrison 1935, Hellyer
1957, McKern and Willis 1957; (Botany) Byrnes 1986, Wilson 1991.
Melaleuca leucadendra
The species described here as M. leucadendra is only part of the taxon previously described
as M. leucadendron. This latter description can be regarded as an all embracing term to
describe the broad leaved Melaleuca species occurring in tropical Australia and into the
Melanesian region.
M. leucadendra is frequently a large tree 20–40m tall with a diameter that may reach
1.5m. Thin, shiny-green lanceolate leaves, attractive weeping habit and white papery bark
are distinguishing features of this species. It is found mainly in coastal and sub-coastal
areas of tropical Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia but extends
inland for up to 350km along major rivers. It is also found in Papua New Guinea, and in
Irian Jaya and on various islands in eastern Indonesia.
M. leucadendra has been shown to exist in two sets of chemical forms which are
geographically separated. One chemical form occurs from Western Australia across to
approximately the middle of Northern Territory. This chemotype consists entirely of mono-
and sesquiterpenes. The second set of chemotypes consists of either methyl eugenol or E-
methyl isoeugenol chemotypes. This second set of chemical forms occurs from mid Northern
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS 257
Territory eastwards to the Queensland coast. The oil yield of all forms was in the range 0.1–
4% based on fresh leaves.
Chemotype (I), from Western Australia, had as its major compounds 1,8-cineole (10–
45%), p-cymene (5–22%), 
α-pinene (4–19%), limonene (3–6%) and α-terpineol (6–9%).
There was also a significant number of both mono- and sesquiterpenes present in small
(<1%) quantities. The oil yield from this chemotype was 0.1–0.5% on a fresh weight basis.
Chemotype (II), which extends into Queensland has two chemical forms. One form
contained methyl eugenol (95–97%) as its principal component. The second chemical form
contained E-methyl isoeugenol (74–88%) as its major component with lesser amounts of
methyl eugenol (6–24%) as a subsidiary component. The oil yield from this set of chemotypes
was 1–4% on a fresh weight basis.
There appeared to be no interbreeding between chemotypes (I) and (II); at one location
in the Northern Territory (Flying Fox Creek, Kapalga, 12°40’S, 132°19’E) both chemotypes
occurred together but there was no sign of the aromatic compounds in the terpenic oil
Analyses of the different chemotypes are given in 
Table 7
 and 
Table 8
.
Table 6 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca ericifolia
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
258
Oil from the aromatic ether chemotypes of this species are excellent sources of methyl
eugenol and E-methyl isoeugenol.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Lassak 1988, Brophy et al. 1989, Brophy and Doran
1996; (Botany) Blake 1968, Byrnes 1986, Barlow 1988.
Melaleuca linophylla
M. linophylla is a bushy shrub to 4m in height with a papery bark. The narrow, flat leaves to
6cm long are a distinguishing feature. This species occurs in creek beds and wet areas in the
north west of Western Australia. M. linophylla is not widely cultivated but has potential as
an ornamental because of its showy flowers.
The leaf essential oil obtained from M. linophylla in 1–2% yield based on fresh leaves,
was heavily monoterpenic in character. By far the major component was 1,8-cineole
Table 7 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca leucadendra
Chemotype (I), Western Australia
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS 259
(71–88%). It was accompanied by lesser amounts of limonene a-pinene (0.2–2%) and p-
cymene (0.1–2%). With the exception of 
α-terpineol (2-oxygenated monoterpenes were
also present but only in very small amounts. The principal members being terpinen-4-ol
(0.1–0.5%), a-terpineol (0.2–0.3%) and the p-mentha-1(7),8-dien-2-ols and p-mentha-1,8-
dien-6-ols (each 0.1–0.3%).
Sesquiterpenes were present in small amounts. The main contributors were the related
tricyclic compounds, globulol, viridiflorol and spathulenol (each 0.1–0.4%) and
aromadendrene (0.1–0.2%). 
Table 9
 lists a typical analysis.
This oil has potential as a medicinal oil with cineole contents equivalent to BP grade
eucalyptus oils.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Byrnes 1986, Carrick and
Chorney 1979.
Melaleuca quinquenervia
M. quinquenervia is an erect, small to medium-sized tree, normally 8–12m tall but sometimes
reaching 25 m. It has stiff, leathery, lanceolate-elliptic leaves and white or greyish papery
bark. The species is found along the east coast of Australia north from Sydney, to southern
Papua and in New Caledonia. Niaouli oil is produced from M. quinquenervia in New
Caledonia and Madagascar.
The species is similar to M. viridiflora, and while Blake (1968) separated the two species,
Byrnes considered it to be co-specific and reduced it to varietal rank (M. viridiflora var.
rubriflora). As a result of this, care should be taken when dealing with reports from the
literature, particularly the pre-1960 literature, in assigning just which species is being dealt
with. Traceability to a voucher specimen is probably the only sure solution. It is considered
that a significant number of reports on the oil contents, particularly those detailing high
nerolidol and linalool oils, probably relate to M. quinquenervia.
M. quinquenervia is known to exist in two chemotypes, one chemotype (I) contains
large amounts of E-nerolidol, while the second chemotype (II) contains a large amount of
Table 8 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca leucadendra chemotype (II),
eastern Australia
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JOSEPH J.BROPHY
260
1,8-cineole. It is this latter chemotype that produces niaouli oil in New Caledonia. Within
this second chemotype we have found trees in which the amount of 1,8-cineole is small and
there is a large amount of the sesquiterpene alcohol, viridiflorol.
Chemotype (I) contains E-nerolidol (>95%) as its major component. This is accompanied
by lesser quantities of E,E-farnesol, ß-farnesene, ß-caryophyllene, linalool, benzaldehyde
and 1,8-cineole (all in trace–0.2%). The oil yield of this chemotype, based on fresh leaves
was up to 2%.
Chemotype (II) contains 1,8-cineole (50–65%) as its principal component. This was
accompanied by lesser amounts of the hydrocarbons 
α-pinene (2–9%), myrcene (1–2%),
limonene (6–8%), terpinolene (0.5–1%), ß-caryophyllene (1–3%), aromadendrene (1–2%),
α-terpineol (5–10%), viridiflorene (1–2%) and globulol (1–4%). There were a large number
of both mono- and sesquiterpenes present in amounts of less than 1%. The oil yield of this
chemotype was 1.3–2.4% based on fresh leaves.
As a variant on this chemotype, a group of trees produced an oil in which the major
component was viridiflorol (80%). This was accompanied by lesser amounts of 
α-pinene
Table 9 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca linophylla
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
261
(10%), limonene (2.5%), viridiflorene (1%), ß-caryophyllene (0.4%) and benzaldehyde
(0.2%). 
α-, ß- and γ-eudesmol were also present (each <0.2%). The oil yield from this
variant was 1.3%, based on fresh leaves. Table 10 lists the oil contents of Chemotype (I) and
the viridiflorol variety of Chemotype (II). The other chemotype variety is dealt with under
niaouli oil.
In addition to the use of this species for the production of niaouli oil, the oil from the
other chemical variants is an excellent source of E-nerolidol (for perfumery) and viridiflorol.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1989, Guenther 1950, Moudachirou et al. 1996,
Ramanoelina et al. 1992, 1994, Jones and Haenke 1937, 1938, Brophy and Doran 1996;
(Botany) Blake 1968, Byrnes 1986.
Melaleuca squamophloia
M. squamophloia is a species with limited distribution, it grows on the black soil plains
usually in wetter areas of the Darling Downs district in the south-east corner of Queensland.
Byrnes (1986) at one time thought that it may be a hybrid between M. styphelioides and M.
bracteata.
There appear to be two chemotypes in this species, which produce oils in 0.4–3.7% yield
based on fresh leaves. Both chemotypes are dominated by aromatic compounds, either E-
isoelemicin or elemicin. Chemotype I produced an oil in which the principal component
was elemicin (93–97%). This was accompanied by lesser amounts of the aromatic compounds
E-isoelemicin (0.1–0.2%), E-methyl cinnamate (0.1–2.0%) and the terpenes spathulenol
(0.5–2.0%),  a-pinene (trace–2.0%), E-ß-ocimene (0.3–0.5%), linalool (0.2–1.0%) and
alloaromadendrene (0.3–1.0%). Chemotype II had as its principal component E-isoelemicin
Table 10 Compounds identified in two chemotypes of Melaleuca quinquenervia
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JOSEPH J.BROPHY
262
(65–79%). This was accompanied by lesser amounts of the aromatic compounds elemicin
(12–15%), Z-isoelemicin (3.1%) and a dimethoxybenzaldehyde (0.1%).
The main terpenes present in the oil of this chemotype were a-pinene (3–6%), spathulenol
(0.5–2.0%), alloaromadendrene (0.1–1.0%) and linalool (0.3–1%).
In all the analyses run there was no oil from a single tree which contained comparable
amounts of both elemicin and E-isoelemicin, which is thought to indicate that there is no
hybridisation between the two chemotypes. Neither was there an appreciable difference in
oil yield between the chemotypes. Analyses of both chemotypes are given in Table 11.
Oils from the chemotypes of this species are excellent sources for the commercial
production of elemicin and E-isoelemicin respectively.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Byrnes 1986, Craven and
Barlow 1997.
Melaleuca stenostachya
M. stenostachya is a shrub or tree, 4–25 m tall, with a small crown and stiff spreading
branches. Bark may be hard or papery. The species occurs in far northern Queensland and
north eastern Northern Territory and grows on a wide range of soils including sands, alluviums
and skeletals that may be subject to inundation for short periods during the wet season. The
wood is used in the round for posts and rails and has potential for fuel.
Table 11 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca squamophloia
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POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
263
The essential oil obtained from M. stenostachya was monoterpenoid in character. The
major comxponents were the ether, 1,8-cineole (53–62%) and the hydrocarbons 
α-pinene
(19–29%),  ß-pinene (1–2%), limonene (4–6%) and 
γ-terpinene (0.3–0.5%). Other
monoterpenes detected were terpinen-4-ol (0.2–0.5%) and a-terpineol (1–3%).
The major sesquiterpenes detected were ß-caryophyllene (2–6%), humulene (0.2–1%),
caryophyllene oxide (0.4–1%), globulol (0.4–1%), viridiflorol (0.1%) and spathulenol (0.1–
1%). The oil yield, based on fresh leaves, was 0.7–0.9%.
A second collection from north of the Laura River crossing in northern Queensland,
contained 
α-pinene (27–28%), ß-pinene (41–44%) and 1,8-cineole (11–13%) as its major
components. The oil yield from this source, based on fresh leaves, was 1–1.2%. Table 12
lists a typical analysis of this oil.
The higher cineole oils from this source have potential as medicinal oils of the cajuput,
niaouli and eucalyptus type.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1988, 1989, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany)
Blake 1968, Byrnes 1986.
Melaleuca stipitata
M. stipitata is a small tree to 6m in height with light branching, spreading crown and papery
bark shedding in small strips. It occurs in dense clumps on shallow loamy soils on shale
rises. It is endemic to the Bukbuluk area of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
The performance and range of potential uses of the species in cultivation are unknown.
Table 12 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca stenostachya
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
264
The pleasant, lemon scented oil obtained from M. stipitata, obtained in 0.7–3.1% yield
based on fresh leaves, was monoterpenic in character. The major components were neral
(14%), geranial (30%) and terpinen-4-ol (11%). Other monoterpenes present in significant
amounts were a-pinene 1%, ß-pinene (0.5%), sabinene (6%), myrcene (2%), 
α-terpinene
(4%), limonene (2%), 1,8-cineole (5%), 
γ-terpinene (6%), p-cymene (1%), terpinolene
(1.5%), 
α-terpineol (5%), nerol (1%) and geraniol (1%).
The major sesquiterpenes were globulol (1%), viridiflorol (0.5%) and spathulenol (0.5%).
The oil yield, based on fresh leaves, from 17 trees averaged 1.6% with a range of 0.7 to
3.1%. The species is reported to have bactericidal properties (Doran and Markam 1997).
Table 13 gives a typical analysis of this oil.
This product has potential as a lemon scented, low terpinen-4-ol anti-microbial medicinal
oil. Some formulations mask the myristic odour of tea tree oil with lemon oils. This oil is a
natural mix of both and from the higher yielding forms presents good commercial prospects.
References: (Chemistry, as M. sp. ‘bukbuluk’) Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Craven
and Barlow 1997.
Table 13 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca stipitata
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POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
265
Melaleuca trichostachya
M. trichostachya ranges from a medium-sized shrub of a height of 2 m to a small tree of
15m, with papery bark. It grows in sandy soils along creeks, rivers and gorges and has a
wide distribution in Queensland extending to northern New South Wales and with disjunct
populations in South Australia and the Northern Territory. M. trichostachya is closely related
to and resembles M. linariifolia. It is an excellent shade and ornamental tree.
M. trichostachya occurs in at least two chemical forms. One form is high in terpinolene,
while the other form is rich in 1,8-cineole and contains significant amounts of terpinen-4-ol.
Chemotype (I) contains 1,8-cineole (45–57%) and terpinen-4-ol (11–16%) as major
components. These were accompanied by lesser amounts of 
α-pinene and α-thujene (each
1–2%), myrcene (1–2%), 
α-terpinene (1–4%), limonene (4–5%), γ-terpinene (8–12%), p-
cymene (1–4%) and 
α-terpineol (5–7%). Sesquiterpenes, both in this chemotype and the
following chemotype, did not contribute significantly to the overall oil. The oil yield, based
on fresh leaves, was 1.6–2.3%. The two chemotypes are listed in Table 14.
Chemotype (II) contains terpinolene (47–65%) as its major component. This is
accompanied by lesser amounts of 1,8-cineole (9–24%), 
α-pinene (1–3%), limonene (2–
4%), terpinen-4-ol (1–3%) and 
α-terpineol (1–4%). The oil yield of this chemotype, based
on fresh leaves, was 1–1.5%.
The potential for this species exists as a high cineole, low terpinen-4-ol oil with moderate
antimicrobial activities (Chemotype I) or as a source of terpinolene (Chemotype II).
Antimicrobial testing (Markham and Southwell 1996) of an oil of this type has shown
anti-microbial activity which, although significant, was not as strong as the terpinen-4-ol
rich oils.
Table 14 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca trichostachya
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JOSEPH J.BROPHY
266
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Lassak 1983, Southwell et al. 1992, Brophy and
Doran 1996; (Botany) Byrnes 1985.
Melaleuca uncinata
M. uncinata is a medium sized broom-like shrub which grows to a height of approximately
3m. It has probably the widest distribution of all the species of Melaleuca, being found
across all of the southern half Australia, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Its terete
leaves are approximately 3mm across and 1.5–6cm in length. Branches of this shrub are
used extensively for brush fencing.
There appear to be 4 chemical varieties of M. uncinata. Chemotype I (obtained in 1.1–
2.7% yield based on fresh leaves) contains significant quantities of 
α-, ß- and γ-eudesmol
and 1,8-cineole. Chemotype II (2.1–4.5% yield based on fresh leaves) contains large amounts
of 1,8-cineole and little in the way of oxygenated sesquiterpenes, while Chemotype III
(0.7–3.7% yield based on fresh leaves) contains significant quantities of terpinen-4-ol.
Chemotype IV (0.25%) contains large amounts of 
α-pinene and little in the way of
sesquiterpenes.
In Chemotype I, 1,8-cineole accounted for 30–60% while 
α-, ß- and γ-eudesmol, in
total, accounted for 30–60%. The remainder of the oil was composed of mono- and
sesquiterpenes with 
α-pinene, α-terpineol, globulol and spathulenol being the major
contributors.
Chemotype II appears to have a limited distribution on the granitic rocks in the Kalgoorlie-
Coolgardie area of Western Australia. In this chemotype 1,8-cineole accounted for 80–85%
of the oil, with 
α-pinene, and α-terpineol each accounting for a further 3–7%. In this
chemotype sesquiterpenes are present in only trace or very minor quantities.
Chemotype III differs from the previous two chemotypes in the abundance of terpinen-
4-ol present in the oil (24–42%). This is accompanied by significant amounts of the
monoterpenes sabinene (3–7%), 
α-terpinene (4–5%), γ-terpinene (6–9%), p-cymene (11–
26%) and terpinolene (2–3%). 1,8-cineole (0.4–2%) was quite low. Sesquiterpenes, while
present, totalled no more than approximately 10% of the oil.
Chemotype IV has been reported from one collection near Lake Grace in Western
Australia. In this chemotype, obtained in 0.25% yield, 
α-pinene (>85%) is the main
component and while sesquiterpenes are reported to be present they are obviously not of
any prominence. All four chemotypes are listed in 
Table 15
.
These four chemotypes have potential as sources of eudesmol, 1,8-cineole, terpinen-4-
ol and 
α-pinene respectively, with the terpinen-4-ol type having similar chemistry and
antimicrobial properties to M. alternifolia (Carson and Riley 1995).
References: (Chemistry) Brophy and Lassak 1992, Brophy et al. 1990, Murray 1950,
Watson 1943, Brophy 1998; (Botany) Byrnes 1985, Carrick and Chorney 1979.
Melaleuca viridiflora
M. viridiflora is typically a small tree, 5–10m tall but may attain 25m in height under
favourable conditions. It has leathery, dull-green leaves and pale brown papery bark. The
species grows on a wide range of soils on swampy ground close to the coast or sometimes
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
267
Table 15 Compounds identified in the essential oils of Melaleuca uncinata
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
268
on drier inland sites. It is very common throughout much of northern Australia. It also
occurs in southern Papua New Guinea and in Irian Jaya. M. viridiflora is useful for shelter
and amenity planting and has potential to produce fuel, posts and poles. The confusion
between this species and M. quinquenervia has already been mentioned. The analyses
reported here are all from vouched specimens.
There appear to be two chemotypes of M. viridiflora, Chemotype (I) being a terpenoid
chemotype which showed a large amount of chemical variation, and Chemotype (II) in
which the principal component was E-methyl cinnamate (Hellyer and Lassak 1968) .
Chemotype (I) seemed to be a variable species. While all the collections of this chemotype
were terpenoid in character, three different types of oil have been encountered. One oil,
arising from trees grown at Gympie from seed collected north west of Chillagoe, north
Queensland, contained, as major components, 
γ-terpinene (39–47%) and terpinolene (26–
33%). These were accompanied by lesser amounts of 
α-pinene (7–9%), α-phellandrene (2–
4%), a-terpinene (7–9%), limonene (1–2%), terpinen-4-ol (0.7–2%) and ß-caryophyllene
(0.4–1%). The oil yield of this variant, based on dry leaves, was 1.3–2.1%.
A second chemical variant contained large amounts of 1,8-cineole (30–60%) as its major
component. This was accompanied by significant amounts of the monoterpenes 
α-pinene
(2–7%), ß-pinene (2–5%), myrcene (0.4–2%), limonene (5–10%), a-terpineol (5–8%) and
the sesquiterpenes ß-caryophyllene (0.5–3%), viridiflorene (1–4%), globulol (1–8%),
viridiflorol (3–9%) and spathulenol (3–14%). The oil yield of this variant was 0.4–0.7%,
based on fresh leaves.
A third chemical variant contained lesser amounts of monoterpenes, particularly 1,8-
cineole (6–12%) and much larger amounts of sesquiterpenes, ß-caryophyllene (2–10%),
spathulenol (4–14%) and globulol (2–13%). A large number of sesquiterpenes in amounts
of less than 3% were present in this oil. The yield, based on air-dry leaves, was 0.4–0.9%.
Chemotype (II) consisted basically of two compounds, E-methyl cinnamate (82%) and
E-ß-ocimene (12%). The remainder of the oil was accounted for by 2,4,6-
trimethoxyisobutyrophenone (5%), Z-methyl cinnamate (0.5%) and linalool (0.6%). The
oil yield of this chemotype, based on air-dry leaves, was 4%. 
Tables 16
 and 
17
 give analyses
of the two chemotypes.
Table 15 Continued
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
269
Table 16 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca
viridiflora Chemotype I
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
270
There is potential for Chemotype II as a source of methyl cinnamate, though the New
England eucalypt, Eucalyptus olida, is a better prospect (Curtis et al. 1990). The other
variants provide sources of 
α-pinene, γ-terpinene, terpinolene and cineole.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1989, Lassak and Southwell 1977, Curtis et al.
1990, Guenther 1950, Brophy and Doran 1996; (Botany) Blake 1968, Byrnes 1986.
Asteromyrtus symphyocarpa
A. symphyocarpa is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree in Australia, usually in the height
range of 3–12m, but may reach larger dimensions in Papua New Guinea. This species is
adapted to acidic, infertile and periodically waterlogged soils in the lowland tropics. It
occurs in the Northern Territory and far northern Queensland. It extends to southern Papua
New Guinea and Irian Jaya in Indonesia.
The oil obtained from A. symphyocarpa (obtained in 1–1.3% yield, based on fresh leaves)
had as principal components 1,8-cineole (39–70%) and 
α-pinene (7–18%). These were
accompanied by lesser amounts of limonene (1–2%), 
γ-terpinene (0.5–4%), p-cymene (0.1–
2%), terpinen-4-ol (1–6%), ß-caryophyllene (1–6%), 
α-terpineol (3–5%), globulol (0.5–
2%), spathulenol (0.5–1%) and 
α-, ß- and γ-eudesmols (total 1–6%).
This species, under the name Melaleuca symphyocarpa, has been the subject of a previous
report (Brophy et al. 1990), in which the trees examined came from five different sites on
Cape York Peninsula and in the Northern Territory. The oil obtained from those trees was
both qualitatively and quantitatively similar to that reported here. It differed principally in
containing less a-pinene (8–16%), terpinen-4-ol (0.4–1%) and 
α-, ß- and γ-eudesmols (not
detected) and containing more 1,8-cineole (45–68%) and ß-caryophyllene (4–19%). The
Table 16 Continued
Table 17 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Melaleuca
viridiflora Chemotype II
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POTENTIALLY COMMERCIAL MELALEUCAS
271
oil composition appears to remain relatively constant throughout the geographic range of
this species. A typical oil analysis is given in Table 18.
Cineole-rich oils of this nature have potential use as medicinal oils similar to cajuput,
niaouli and eucalyptus oils.
References: (Chemistry) Brophy et al. 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, Brophy and Doran 1996;
(Botany) Craven 1988, Byrnes 1985, Cowley et al. 1990.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Production of the work described in this chapter would not have been possible without the
help of the people mentioned below who collected and identified the Melaleuca species.
Leaf samples were contributed by N.Ashwathappa, Doug Boland, John Clarkson, Lyn
Craven, John Doran, Paul Forster, Brian Gunn, Erich Lassak, David Lea, Brendan Lepschi,
Maurice McDonald, Jock Morse and John Neldner. Generous help in the isolation of the
volatile oils, obtaining their gas chromatographic profiles and checking the past literature
was given by Bob Goldsack. I am deeply indebted to them. The analysis of the oils of the
Table 18 Compounds identified in the essential oil of Asteromyrtus
symophyocarpa
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.

JOSEPH J.BROPHY
272
species contained in this report was funded as part of a forestry project supported by the
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
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part of The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group.


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