The broad-leaved paperbark is a medium to tall tree. It has whitish papery bark, rather like many fine sheets of tissue paper stuck together, hence the common name.
Melaleuca belongs in the large family Myrtaceae, which is a major plant family in Australia represented by such other significant groups of Australian plants as eucalypts, bloodwoods and lilly pillys, among others. All members of this family have aromatic oils in their leaves.
Paperbarks occur naturally in swamps and love moist, sandy conditions.