The Melaleuca tree is famous in Australia, but is not the most famous. 

According to www.TopTropicals.com, "After Eucalyptus, this [Melaleuca Alternifolia] is the most famous of all Australia plants."

Well, Eucalyptus may be the most famous, but dear Melaleuca tree, you will always be number one in my heart!
 
It is a fact.  You can grow Melaleuca Alternifolia trees just by planting a seed.  It does take the right environment and the right green thumb though.  Not just anyone who sticks a Melaleuca seed in the ground will successfully grow a Melaleuca tree in their backyard.  If you are interested in growing a Melaleuca tree, you need to know the tricks.  Here is some helpful advice I found at MelaleucaAlternifolia.org:

"In spring, the seed was led onto a pot of permanently moist soil.  Immerse in 5cm of water and do not water from overhead. Grow on until the seedlings are 0.5cm tall than remove from the water and pot up a after a week. Seedlings are liable to damp off when grown this way, sowing the seed thinly, good ventilation and hygiene are essential for success. Grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and then plant them out in late spring or early summer after last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors."

Happy gardening!  If you have had success planting a Melaleuca tree, leave a comment.  We want to hear the details of what you did.
 
While there are some who believe Melaleuca is a weed, they are both right and wrong.  Melaleuca Alternifolia, as found in Australia, is a tree.  Melaleuca Quinquenervia, as found in Florida, is a noxious weed.  They are easily distinguishable.  Melaleuca tree = Alternifolia. Melaleuca weed = Quinquenervia.
 
The Melaleuca tree, similar to the way the bark on a Quaking Aspen tree peels away, has a bark that looks like it is always falling apart.  The bark peels in thick layers and is rather soft.
See the following picture of Melaleuca Bark:
This picture was shared on twitter here:  https://twitter.com/#!/JoyUsGarden/status/169829215242432512/photo/1
by @joyusgarden

Notice that the bark peels away naturally and slowly over time.  Melaleuca bark, unlike the Quaking Aspen tree bark which are paper thin, peel away in thick layers.