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How it Survives
Where it lives
The bottle brush bush, Callistemon viminalis or Little John, is native to Australia and favors moist conditions when planted in gardens. It is commonly found in Phoenix, Arizona and desert locations. This plant is drought resistant and can survive hot, dry conditions. The Little John variety found in Phoenix is a small plant that grows very slowly and is about three feet tall with a five foot spread. This plant type is usually used as a low shrub. The larger version of this plant can grow up to 15 or 20 feet if left alone and not restricted.
Bottle brushes are members of the genus Callistemon and belong to the family Myrtaceae. They are closely related to paperbark melaleucas, which also have 'bottlebrush' shaped flower spikes. It is difficult to tell to which genus some species belong. Botanists are currently closely studying these plants to determine how they are best classified. There are 40 species currently called Callistemon.
What is a bottle brush?
The bottle brush has made very specific water saving adaptations. Their flowering and growing season is during late winter and Spring when water is more readily available and in Summer, their leaves and stems harden which reduces their need for water and hence minimises water loss.