This plant was selected as a chance seedling in the 1980s by Ken Dunstan of Alstonville, New South Wales and was also called Callistemon 'Alstonville Dwarf', Callistemon 'Tom Thumb' and Callistemon viminalis 'Little John'. It was the 1986 Shrub of the Year in Australia and was originally introduced as a plant that only grew to 3 feet tall but older plants can now be found in cultivation are typically 4 to 5 feet with plants at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes California that have exceed 8 feet in height. It reportedly gets chlorotic in overly-wet soils but responds in these situations to chelated iron fertilizers. The genus was named using the Greek words 'kallos' meaning "beautiful" and 'stemon' meaning "stamens" in reference to the long conspicuous and colorful stamens that characterize the flowers of this genus. Melaleuca and Callistemon have long been noted as being closely related and were separated on the basis that Callistemon stamens are free and those of Melaleuca are in bundles. The two genera have recently been combined into the genus Melaleuca. Until such time that the new names have broad recognition we will still refer to these plants as Callistemon.