Lists (None yet)

Login to create lists

Tagged (None yet)

Add Tags

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

No corrections yet

THE GARDENER'S GUIDE TO

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE PLANTS

Womens Weekly

?TOiïAGEUWORTH PRESERVING

Native plants, beautiful and unique, are not hard to grow once you come to understand their simple needs.

I Batiera rubioides, the

dog-rose.

USTRALIAN native plants are

other parts of the world. On this ancient continent, time has had longer to modify them.

Some must withstand drought, heat, or cold, and grow in the hungry soils of our sunbaked, rocky hillsides. These have austere foliage, often as grey as the roll- ing hills they inhabit, but their flowers are beautiful and unique.

Others are at home in the cool, moist gullies or rain forests, and are extrava- gantly green and lush. Most have great adaptability.

This wealth of unique plants is our heritage, and not many years ago the

land abounded with native flowers.

There were areas in easy reach where one could enjoy carpets of starry-pink boronia, the air spiced with its aroma. Clumps of flannel flowers, blue sun orchids, and countless other gems added variety to the sunny hillsides, while valley walks were arched with golden pultenias above dainty bauera, golden pea, and Boronia pinnata, interlaced with soft ferns.

But, with progress, bulldozers devour bushland for housing estates and indus- try and, sadly, our native plant population dwindles year by year.

On the cover: Western Australian wild- flower Helipterum manglessi (inset shows close-up) in glorious profusion.

from those in most

Realising that many of these treasures could become extinct, native plant protec- tion societies and other interested groups have already set aside some areas for the preservation of native plants.

We can help by planting them in our gardens, not necessarily in treas entirely dedicated to natives, but blended with

other shrubs.

Many gardeners who won't consider growing natives believe them to be temperamental, but they are easy and pleasant company when you understand their needs-or how little they do need. Many have been killed with kindness.

This booklet aims to give a better understanding of these plants and help you to grow them successfully.

J£NOWING the name of a plant is the

first step - botanical or common name, it doesn't matter greatly, but the common name is often a local one and may not give reliable identification.

For example, "eggs and bacon" is the common name of nearly every red and yellow pea flower in the bush.

Bottlebrush usually means callistemon in the eastern States of Australia, but means banksia in the west.

Botanical names may sound cumber- some, but they mean something, and there

are reasons for them.

Plant classification is interesting, and anything but willy-nilly, lt is so systematic that a trained botanist, seeing a flower for the first time, could accurately identify

it because all plants first are catalogued and grouped according to their physical make-up.

The broad groupings are divisions, sub- divisions, classes, orders, then a more de- tailed grouping, first into family, then genus, and species.

The GENUS NAME is the botanical

one, often in everyday use. For example, in Boronia pinnata, boronia is the genus.

All boronias will have the same pattern in their make-up, but belonging to the

By ALLAN SEALE

genus will be species each with some variation in characteristic. B. pinnata is the boronia with the pin-like (pinnate) foliage. The native rose, B. serrulata, is the one with serrated foliage, and so on.

A FAMILY is a group of closely related GENUS, a term often used loosely, as people are inclined to refer to a plant as, say, "a member of the boronia family."

But boronia is the genus, which be- longs to a large family known as RUTACEAE. As well as boronia it em- braces the eriostemons, philotheca, phi balium, etc., and a few immigrant garden shrubs such as murraya from Asia, and

diosma from South Africa.

The family name, rutaceae, originated from rue, an old-fashioned aromatic herb. Oil glands in the foliage carry its spicy aroma, a common family characteristic.

The oil glands can be seen as translucent spots when a leaf is held to the light-and

. Actinotis helianthH,

flannel flowers.

the aroma is always the same tangy type. Crush a diosma leaf-and you have a strong boronia aroma.

All members of the rutaceae family have precise similarities in flower make-up. One: The ovary is always above the flower. Another: Amazing evenness of structure, such as the same number of sepals as petals, and either the same number or exactly twice as many stamens as petals.

Examples: Boronia 4 petals, 8 stamens. Eriostemon 5 petals, 10 stamens.

As an example of the difference between families, take the flower of a leptospermum or teatree, which is something like a boronia at first appearance but belongs to the myrtaceae or myrtle family.

Compare them. The ovary housing the seeds in the boronia or eriostemon is above the flower (petals, base of stamen). In the teatree it is below. The stamens are raised on a characteristic rim, and their numbers are irregular, with no relation to the number of petals.

Both families have oil glands in the foliage, but in the myrtaceae, which in- cludes also eucalyptus, melacleuca, and many others, the aroma is sharper, often lemon-like, but certainly different from the rutaceae group.

Of course, you can enjoy growing plants without knowing about plant families, but an awareness of this does make plants easier to identify and remember, and often growing conditions will apply to an entire plant family.

To emphasise the family link, plants listed in this booklet are grouped in families, not alphabetically. Some ex- planation, derivation, or reason for the name is usually given.

MIMOSEAE - the wattles

MI MOSE AE (from European

mimosa) are a family com prised mainly of acacias or wattles, and

albizzia.

Once it was grouped under leguminosae, which included peas, cassias, etc. But the only significant character in common was that all formed true pods, or legumes.

Apart from differences in their minute calyx, mimoseae have numerous stamens, and always more than ten. Each ball-like flower is actually a tightly packed cluster of tiny flowers, complete with petals, calyx,

and stamens. Acacia stamens are free

(separate), albizzia fused together at the

base.

Acacia is the name of an ancient

Egyptian species renowned for the long lasting qualities of its timber. Our acacias often have poor-quality timber, but some

vuch as A. melanoxylon, the blackwood) are valued for their durable, attractive

. Acacia longifolia, the Sydney

golden wattle.

timber. Posts cut from A. acuminata last in the soil indefinitely.

The name wattle originated from its use in the early settlement to make what were known as wattle and daub huts, although it seems the callicoma, an un- related plant, was the main one used. This plant is commonly known as creek wattle. It has acacia-like, creamy flowers, and grows profusely along creeks of the eastern

coast.

There are some 400 species of acacia in Australia. Most are very adaptable. They are among the world's most beautiful trees, and, when prejudices about borers or hay fever are surmounted, surely will be grown more freely. (The comparatively heavy pollen of wattle may be less likely to affect hay fever or asthma sufferers than pollen from other plants.)

Acacia seed germinates readily in nature after a fire has passed over it, so burn a layer of dry leaves or grass over the sown seed. Or plunge it into near-boiling water and leave until cool, then sow immediately. Spring sowing is best.

Some attractive smaller growers include reason for names given in brackets):

Acacia acinacea (dagger-like), gold-dust

wattle. (3-6ft.) Attractive shrub; short, broad, pointed leaves, showered. with bright yellow flowers in spring. Native to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales.

A. brachybotrya, grey mulga. (6ft.) Short,

stubby, silvery foliage. Flowers in small clusters among foliage, winter/late spring. Very drought resistant. Western N.S.W., Vic, S.A.

Acacia browni. (3ft.) Bushy shrub with

large golden flowers, short, needle-like foliage. Needs regular moisture. Coastal

N.S.W.

\. buxifolia (with foliage like a buxus).

(6-8ft.) Compact growers with short, thick foliage; golden bloom all spring.

Eastern States.

A. calamifolia, wallowa. (6-12ft.) Graceful

often sparse tree with slender foliage Generously clad with bright yellow flowers, midwinter to early spring. Drought resistant, prefers light soil. S.A., eastern

States.

A. cardioohyla (heart-shaped leaves).

Wyalong" wattle. (10-12ft.) Beautiful, quick growing; small, finely divided leaves, massed small golden flowers in spring. Graceful, hardv shrub. Western

N.S.W.

A. drummondii (after J. Drummond, West-

ern Australia's first Government Botanist ). Spectacular smaller-growing wattle, with fine, fern-like foliage. In spring, branches are laden with vivid gold, downy fingers of bloom. Best in light, loamy soil, not

too acid. From W.A.

A. elongata. (10ft.) Has elongated foliage.

Abundance of deep golden flowers in spring. Best in moist position. N.S.W., Qld.

A. farnesiana (referring to Farnese Gardens

in Rome), thorny wattle. (8-12ft.) Occurs naturally in most temperate parts of the world. Foliage fine, flowers large, deep gold with a heavy perfume, which is extracted commercially. Its {in. thorns and bushy growth make a formidable hedge.

A. howitti, sticky wattle. (10ft.) Short, dark

green foliage, new growth sticky to touch. Pale yellow flower-heads, late spring. Shapely small tree. East Gippsland.

A. myrtlefolia (myrtle leafed), myrtle

wattle. (6ft.) Prominent oval leaves about 2in. long, upright in regular formation on upright growth. Showy yellow flowers, spring. Attractive, adaptable. Most parts

of Australia.

A. nervosa, rib wattle. (3ft.) Foliage re-

sembles A. myrtlefolia; large, golden yellow, sweetly perfumed flowers in winter. Best in warm areas. From W.A. A. podalyriaefolia (foliage like podalyria, a

silver-leafed shrub), Queensland or silver wattle. (8-12ft.) Popular, quick growing, beautiful silvery, oval foliage: generous clusters of large, eolden-vellow bloom.

. Acacia decurrens, the black wattle.

winter. One of first to flower. Hardy in all but coldest districts. May die out after 5 or 6 years, but quick to establish. Qld., N.S.W.

A. pulchella (beautiful). (4-6ft.) Compact,

spreading, fine-foliaged shrub with large, showy, golden flowers. Prickly spines at base of foliage..From W.A.

A. oxycedrus. (6-10ft.) Stiff, lance-like

leaves 2-4in. long, sharp pointed. Long fingers of creamy yellow flower along stems, late winter, early spring. Grows naturally in poor sandstone. East coast. A. rubida, red-stem wattle. (10ft.) Similar

to golden wattle of east coast - broad foliage 2-3in. long, clusters of smaller flowers. Leaves and stems reddish in winter. Vic, N.S.W.

A. spectabilis, Mudgee wattle. (10ft.) Ideal

garden specimen, quick growing, usually conical in early years. Foliage fern-like, graceful. Generous sprays of golden yellow, August/September. Hardy. N.S.W., Qld.

A. vestita, weeping boree wattle. (10ft.)

Gracefully pendant growth; downy leaves about ¿in. long, pointed. Long sprays of bloom, mid-spring/mid-summer.

N.S.W.

A. vomeriformis. (2ft.) Low-growing,

attractive in rock gardens; small, prickly foliage, flowers along the branches, all spring. Vic, N.S.W., Tas., S.A.

Taller wattles: see page 4

MimOSe36 - continued from page 3

The taller wattles - from 12 to 100ft.

A. acuminata, raspberry jam wattle. (30ft.)

Handsome tree with long, narrow foliage, spikes golden yellow flowers. August. Timber, an unusual raspberry-jam color, lasts in soil; is valued for fence posts in its home State, W.A.

A. aneura, mulga. (20ft.) The mulga of the

inland, often carved and polished for souvenirs. Once used as shields by Aborigines. Narrow foliage is grey-green, downv. Yellow flowers in spring. Adapt- able, hardy. W.A., S.A., N.S.W., Qld.

A. baileyana, Cootamundra wattle. (15

20ft.) Because it is frequently grown, is sometimes taken for granted, but is one of the most beautiful trees. Its soft, silver-blue foliage makes a wonderful background for mint bushes, bottle brushes, or exotics such as purple-foliaged prunus or golden elm. It gives a sense of misty distance. July/August, a glorious mass of pendulous, golden bloom. Keep compact by pruning back after flowering.

N.S.W.

A. decurrens, black watde. (2O-40ft.) A

quick-growing wattle, with handsome, rounded, dense top-growth, and dark trunk. Compound leaves have herring- bone-like formation, the "ribs" carrying closely packed, fine, dark green leaflets

(pilodes) about |in. long. Outer growth covered with pale yellow flowers. September/October. N.S.W., Qld.

A. dealbata, silver wattle. (20-50ft.) Similar

to A. decurrens, but silver-grey foliage, and earlier flowering -- July/December. Inclined to sucker. Qld., N.S.W., Vic,

S.A.

A. elata, cedar wattle. (50ft.) Fine tree with

generously proportioned, upright dark trunk: creamy flowers, mid-summer. Foliage fernlike, shiny dark green, not unlike the peppercorn. One of fastest growing tall trees. Frost-tender when young, grows in heavy or light soil.

N.S.W.

A. glaucescens, coastal myall. (20-40ft.)

Handsome wattle with pendulous growth, blue-green, long, narrow foliage, clusters of long, finger-like flowers in spring. Foliage poisonous to stock. Qld., N.S.W. A. melanoxylon, the blackwood. (60-100ft.)

This timber tree reaches majestic propor- tions in moist, sheltered valleys. Leaves not unlike small eucalyptus foliage. Flowers pale yellow, in spring. S.A., Vic, Tas., N.S.W.

A. mollisima. Similar to A. decurrens, with

shorter, more tightly packed leaflets which close together at night. Flowers Novem- ber. S.A., Tas., Vic, N.S.W.

A. pycantha, golden wattle. (12-20ft.)

Attractive small tree; broad, curved leaves, masses of deep yellow flowers. Frost-tender early. N.S.W., Vic, Tas.

. The acacia-like, creamy flowers at left belong to Cal- licoma serratifolia, commonly known as creek wattle, which grows along creeks of Australia's eastern coast. Callicoma is not an acacia, but it is thought that this was the tree used by early settlers to make "wattle and daub" huts, so that wattle erron- eously became the common name for trees of the acacia species, bearing flowers similar

to the callicoma.

PAPILIONACEAE

Papilio means butterfly, referring to the graceful, winged

shape of the flowers of the pea family.

LIKE acacia, the papilionaceae is a break

away from the original, large legumi noseae family.

All pea flowers are members of the family papilionaceae. Papilio is the butter- fly, so the name merely means butterfly- like-apt for pea flowers.

Papilionacea flowers have a five-lobed calyx and five petals, but at first the latter is not obvious because of the irregular

form of the flower.

The two lower petals are united, form- ing a beak-like keel, two side ones are free, and the upper one forming the standard is enlarged, overlapping the others, and enclosing them in bud. Also, they have ten upward curved stamens

which are often united or fused toward the base.

Seed is always in a pod (legume), the foliage often compound (leaf divided into a number of leaflets). They usually make a curved tap root, and the secondary roots carry nodules housing colonies of bacteria which use nitrogen from the air, and pass some of this on to the plant.

Except for color and size, descriptions of pea-shaped flowers can sound very similar, so the various genera have been grouped here according to their leaf formation-compound (divided into a number of leaflets) or simple (undivided).

In the simple group also will be some species with leaves in threes on the one leaf stem (trifoliate). These are not true compound leaves.

The other positive identification is that some of the stamens are free or perhaps only joined at the base, but in others are obviously fused together, or united in a

sheath open on the upper side, or with top stamen free. To determine this the flower must be pulled apart, and perhaps viewed under a magnifying glass.

Papilionaceae are best raised from seed sown spring or autumn and, like wattle, usually need heat stimulation to germ-

inate.

Climbing peo flowers; some are useful

for ground cover

Hardenbergia (after Countess von Harden-

burg, sister of Baron von Hugel, who collected plants in Western Australia in 1933), purple coral pea. One of Aus- tralia's most attractive climbing plants, massed in spring with clusters of rich, violet-like, small pea flowers. Adaptable, to granite, heavy clay, limestone soils around Adelaide, or acid Hawkesbury sandstone country of the east coast. Tolerates long periods of dryness. Growth rapid; can quickly become entwined in neighboring shrub. Useful as ground cover for sunny embankments, to cover old stumps or low fences.

H. comptonia, native wisteria or Western

Australian coral pea; has stiff, narrow leaves in groups of three.

H. morophylla has broader single leaves,

with a prominent central vein or mid-rib.

Kennedya (after Lewis Kennedy, nursery-

man near London, 1775-1818), closely related to hardenbergia. Both have nine stamens united, one free. Calyx teeth of kennedya are longer, and its longer wings adhere to the keel. Kennedya is also adaptable, and gaining popularity as a ground cover.

the family of pea flowers

Pea flowers with simple, undivided leaves (including triofoliate):

Chorizema cordatum, Western Australian

flame pea ( 3-4ft. ). Compact, rounded little bush with stiff, oval- to heart shaped leaves, l-2in. long. Covered with sprays of small, orange-red pea flowers, winter and spring. Stamens are free. Grows in most well-drained soil, limy or acid, full sun or part shade. Trim back after flowering. A number of varie- ties, mostly from W.A. Two others are C. ilicifolium (holly-like leaves) and C. dicksonii (narrow, pointed leaves), neither as showy as C. cordatum.

Dillwynias. Showy little pea flowers; golden

orange, red splash at base of upper petals. Stamens free. Prolific in coastal regions of Australia, especially in acid sand- stone. Prefers shade of taller timber.

D. ericafolia is popular, with fine, dark

green foliage, flowers in clusters late spring/early summer; spreading and graceful, 2-3ft. D. juniperina has small, sharp leaves, flower clusters at ends of branchlets. D. floribunda has stiffer growth, flowers in spikes among foliage.

All States.

Bossia. Small pea flowers with broad, flat-

tened stems, in some cases with minute

Climbing pea flowers - continued

from column opposite.

K. rubicunda, or dusky coral pea, is a tough,

vigorous trailing plant. October/Novem- ber, has pairs of large, dull red flowers sometimes mistaken for desert pea (clian- thus) . Leaves egg-shaped, deep green, 4in. long under good conditions. Young foliage and large pods are downy. Grows well under hot conditions. Eastern States.

K. prostrata, scarlet runner or running

postman. Flowers similar to K. rubicunda. Smaller, but bright scarlet foliage, wavy margins. Dense mat for ground cover. All States except Qld.

K. coccínea has narrow leaves, with down-

ward rolled edges. In appearance and twining habit not unlike a bright red hardenbergia. W.A.

leaves and the stem acting as a leaf. Stamens united. They grow in poor sandy soil, rarely more than 2ft. Numerous species all States.

Gompholobium, golden pea. (From gom

phos, a nail; and lobos, a pod. Referring to the way the seed pods are attached.) Most have large, yellow pea flowers along the upright stems, with dark brown to black buds. Leaves usually in sets of threes. Spectacular in late winter, early spring.

G. Iatifolium has soft, narrow, lance-shaped

leaves, large, clear yellow pea flowers, to l£in. across. In the wild, usually sparse but attractive; to 5ft. Light pruning after flowering will encourage compact growth. G. grandiflorum is smaller, with fine foliage

- not, as one would expect from its name, the larger of the two. Evidently was the first discovered. Also very at- tractive. Both profuse in coastal sand- stone areas, N.S.W., Qld.

There are about 20 other species, less spectacular, throughout Australia. G. minus grows only 6-8in. high, with fine foliage, creamy-yellow flowers.

Hovea (after A. P. Hove, a Polish collec-

tor of plants for Kew Gardens, London). Low, shrubby plants, mostly with long, narrow foliage and small blue pea flowers from leaf axils toward top of stems. Sta- mens fused together.

All 12 species of hovea are Australian. Two spectacular ones are H. trisperna (rich, violet-blue flowers, £in.-wide lance shaped leaves) and H. chorizemifolia (similar flowers, attractive broad foliage like holly-leafed chorizema). Coastal W.A. H. elliptica, another W.A. species, can reach

8-9ft. Has elliptical leaves.

H. longifolia (long foliage) grows in the

Flinders Ranges of S.A., in N.S.W. and Vic. Small lilac-blue flowers in dense spikes. Also a mauve pink variety.

H. heterophylla from Vic, has similar

flowers, but lower leaves are rounded,

upper ones narrow.

Hoveas are hardy, easy to grow, pre- ferring light, well-drained soil and light protection of taller trees, except H. chori zemifolia, which is best in heavier loam and more open position. It is winter flowering, the others mostly spring.

Oxylobium (oxys meaning sharp; lobos, a

pod). O. trilobatum has three sharp lobes on leaf, holly-like. In spring, cov- ered in small yellow pea flowers. Mainly coastal gullies of eastern States.

Two W.A. species have long, slender foliage. Leaves of O. capitatum have a sharp, downward hook at tips. Flowers orange, deep red keel. To 18in. O. Hne arifolium has still longer, straight foliage; pale yellow flowers, red keel. Reaches 10ft. Pultenaea (after Richard Pulteney, English

Botanist, 1730-1801). There are 126

species, all Australian, with small orange- . red pea flowers. They differ from most of the genera in that the flowers are usually in leafy clusters and have tiny, membrane-like papery bracts behind the calyx of each individual flower in the cluster. Stamens are separated. The simple leaves are alternate, and at the base of the leaf stalk (petiole) of each on either side is a tiny stipule or pointed, scale-like leaf, sometimes only just visible. These stipules usually come away with a leaf pulled from the stem.

P. daphnoides (resembles some daphne, but

not D. odora, popular in Australia). Wedge-shaped leaves about Jin. long, widening toward tip, finishing in slight point. Orange/brown pea flowers rosette in cluster at tips of stems, August/ October. In lightly shaded coastal gullies, a sparse shrub to 1 Oft., but more com- pact when pruned after flowering. All temperate Australia, except W.A.

P. peduniculata. Spreading, semi-prostrate

shrub: fine foliage, yellow/red flowers on long, hairy stems, September/December. Native to S.A., inland areas of eastern

States.

P. tenella. Small-flowered, narrow-leafed

ground cover from Victorian Alps. There are other types, prostrate and tall, all worth growing and easy to cultivate. Exception is beautiful, rosy purple P. subalpina, from the Grampian Moun- tains. It doesn't adapt easily to other

areas.

Platylobium (Greek platys, platelike or

flat; lobos, a pod). Has broad, flat seed pods. There are four species, all in Aus- tralia. Golden red pea flowers. Both the "wings,or side petals, and the keel of the flower are shorter than the large upper petal or standard. Stamens are united in a sheath open at the top. Leaves are broad, oval, or slightly triangular. At- tractive, bushy shrubs, 2-4ft.

Peo flowers with composite foliage (leaf divided

into numerous leaflets)

Clianthus (from Greek kleos, glory; anthos,

flower), Sturt's desert pea. There is one New Zealand, one Australian species. The Australian C. dampieri is sometimes known as glory pea; more popularly as desert pea or Sturt's pea, although it was first collected and recorded by Dampier.

This rambling, semi-trailing plant is one of Australia's spectacular gems, each stem displaying a cluster of about five long, vivid red pea flowers with shiny black protruding centres. The cleanly divided, silky foliage is olive-grey.

It grows naturally in W.A. (Kimberleys to Kalgoorlie) ; in S.A. (Port Augusta to the Centre); around Broken Hill (N.S.W.); and Western Queensland.

It needs deep, well drained soil, pre- ferably slightly alkaline, kept moist until growth is well under way, then on die dry side. Watering with bordeaux after sowing seems to help, as it likes soil with a high copper content.

Seedlings grow quickly, flower in a few months. Best sown in spring, direct where it is to flower in built-up, sunny rockery beds or a large pot. Add plenty of coarse sand or gravel for quick drainage.

Germination is difficult unless seed Is soaked in hot water, as for acacia, or nicked with a file. This is difficult. The writer has had success by placing about ten at a time between two sheets of sandpaper and rubbing vigorously to give them a scratched appearance.

Continued on page 6

From page 5

Pea flowers with composite foliage, continued:

Swainsonia (in honor of Isaac Swainson,

who maintained a private botanical garden near London about 1790). Over 60 species in Australia, one in New Zealand. Leaves are finely divided into small op- posite leaflets, some fernlike. Flowers in long racemes come from the leaf axils. Petals rounded, keel outward curved or pouched, frequently upturned or hooked.

Most are low-spreading shrubs, with small pink or red flowers. Some species such as S. galegifolia (goatsrue) or S. greyana are poisonous to stock. The ani- mals become addicted to the plants, which affect their nervous system.

gEVERAL handsome trees also belong to

the papilionaceae family. Among them are the castanosporum (black bean or Moreton Bay chestnut) with rich, glossy foliage, and red/yellow flowers along the dark stems in early summer. These are followed by large, woody pods encasing three or four chestnut-like seeds from which it derives its botanical name - castaña, the Spanish chestnut (used as castanets); and sporum, a seed.

Others are:

Barklaya syringafolia, a tree with attractive

conical growth, sprays of golden flowers, and deep green lilac-like foliage.

Crotalaria. Mostly soft wooded shrubs with

large pea flowers. Some, such as C. laburnafolia, resemble a bird in flight.

. Gompholobium latifoUum, the

golden pea.

. Hardenbergia monophylla, purple

coral nea.

. Chor'izema HicifoHum, holly-leaf

flame pea.

. Below: Hovea trisperma.

MYRTACEAE - the

JJ^YRTACEAE are a family embracing a

wide variety of beautiful plants from tiny, ground-hugging baeckea to majestic eucalyptus, hundreds of feet high.

Many1 may look dissimilar, but have these points in common: The ovary or seed container is below the base of petals and stamens (epigynous), whereas in the rutaceae family it is above (hypogynous).

As the ovary is below the flower, the calyx tube is attached to it. Sometimes petals are absent, as in eucalyptus. When there are petals, their number is the same as the calyx lobes below them.

Stamens are numerous but, unlike the rutaceae group, their number has no relation to the number of petals. Pollen enters the ovaries through a simple column in the centre of the flower, and usually has a small, flattened cap (capitate).

The leaves of all myrtaceae are simple and entire, without division into leaflets,

or serration.

Amazingly, all these characteristics per- sist through their diverse family. It is

the different characteristics within the family which divide it into various genus.

The delightful thryptomene and caly thria have only one seed per flower, and this is not expelled when the fruit bursts, but falls with it. The calythrix has long, hair-like awns (beards) from the calyx.

Calythrix alpestris, snow myrtle. To 4ft. Dense, small, heath-like foliage, attractive pink buds, starry white flowers, spring. N.S.W., Vic, S.A., Tas. Needs moist soil. C. fraser!, summer fringe myrtle. Similar

to snow myrtle, but showy mauve pink flowers, summer. Needs light soil, warm, sheltered position. W.A.

C. sullivanii, Grampians fringe myrtle. Attractive shrub. Bright green, narrow foliage, just-pink starry flowers, spring. To

4ft. Vic.

C. tetragona. A little taller, pink flowers, massed, late spring. Variety scabra has deeper pink flowers, showy bronzé-red calyxes. All States.

Thryptomenes or heath myrtles. Graceful, dainty little plants gradually finding way into home gardens. Flower for long period. Reasonably hardy and adaptable, do best in light loam.

T. calycina. Dainty white variety from Vic. Grampians, flowering mainly winter/spring. T. hyporhytis. Small, narrow leaves, deep pink flowers. To 2ft.

T. saxícola. Spreading or weeping growth, pinkish white flowers, which unfortunately don't drop when they die. W.A.

T. Paynei or Paynes thryptomene. Garden

favorite; tiny foliage, graceful, arching sprays of dainty pink flowers, mainly

winter. To 2ft.

Baeckea. Not unlike small flowers of boronia, with tiny, rounded petals. B. crenatifolia (5ft.) white flowers in summer, round foliage. B. linifolia (3ft.) narrow foliage, small white flowers, spring. B. ramosissima, dainty, procumbent little plant, fine foliage, pink flowers, late winter, spring, summer. All prefer light soil, reasonable moisture, light shade.

B. camphorosmae, camphor myrtle, has

camphor smell in crushed foliage, pink flowers in clusters at end of branches. This species from W.A., the others from

eastern Australia.

Leptospermum, teatree (leptos, slender;

sperma, a seed; it has thread-like seeds). "Teatree" dates back to 1770, when Captain Cook's men used the leaves for a tea-like brew in an effort to ward off

scurvy.

Many of the better-known garden hybrids

are from New Zealand varieties such as L. nicholsii. These sometimes flower pro- fusely for a few years then die out, pos- sibly weakened by scale attack and heavy cultivation. This suggests that teatrees are short lived or delicate, but this doesn't apply to most native Australian species.

L. petersonii (also ci tra tum) and similar

types make ideal hedges or windbreaks, in heavy clay loam or seaside sand, 12 to 15ft., or trimmed to size. The clean, green lemon-scented foliage and its great endur- ance is its main attraction.

^???IMIiMiM MIIMI ?iMiiMiiM^iM, - M M M " M i - n M ll M _ - ? III M iMiMiui ? .?????iiMiMumiMilMiM

myrtles: Teatree, callistemon, melaleuca, kunzea, and others

JJONEY MYRTLES (melaleuca),

bottlebrush ( callistemon ), kunzea, and net bush (calothamnus) are also of the myrtaceae family.

They may appear to differ greatly from the teatrees, but closely examine each individual flower and notice that the general structure is identical, except that in the teatree the petals are pronounced and stamens comparatively small, whereas the others have minute petals and long, pronounced stamens giving the brush-like appearance, and there are numerous individual flowers packed closely together.

Melaleuca and callistemon can look alike, but in the callistemon the stamens

Leptospermum (teatrees), continued

from column opposite.

L. laevigatum is another hardy-foliage type

favored as a coastal windbreak.

L. persiciflorum (peach-flowered-pérsica,

peach), among the beautiful flowering species, is also known as L. scoparium. It still grows along the roadsides of some unspoiled areas of the N.S.W. coast. Short, pointed foliage, pendulous branches heavily clad at base with white-to-pink flowers fin. across, autumn/winter. Most of the flower is on older stems, which detracts from its value as a cut flower, but it makes an attractive background or specimen plant for the natural garden. (6-1 Oft. )

L. rotundifolium has attractive, small, dark

foliage, rounded as its name suggests. Carries a display in early summer of flowers Jin. to lin. across, with crinkled, usually pink, petals surrounding glassy green centre. This beautiful plant is usually happy in cultivation if the soil isn't alka- line (limy). (To 6ft.)

L. myrsinoides has small, grey-green

rounded foliage, and clusters of small white flowers, spring. Pink varieties also found L. rupestre, rock teatree. Prostrate species

from Tas. Dense, small, dark green, lemon scented foliage, cream flowers in summer. Interesting ground-cover or rockery plant.

remain separated, while melaleuca stamens are fused together toward their base into

four or five bundles.

Kunzea is similar to callistemon, with shorter stamens coming from a projec-

tion above the rest of the flower.

Calothamnus stamens are still further projected than kunzea, being united in a feather-like formation. The pollen anthers on melaleuca stamens are hinged loosely on a flexible membrane. On calothamnus, they are rigid.

One of the interesting characteristics of the bottlebrushes, net bushes, some of the melaleucas, and closely related genera is that their seeds are in woody capsules which remain sealed for many years.

The capsules only open readily when they are broken from the tree, or it dies, or is damaged by fire - nature's way that the parent plant is not crowded out by its progeny. The seed capsules are retained as new growth continues through

the end of the flower stem.

Callistemon are spectacular, extremely adaptable shrubs or small trees. Most grow naturally along the banks of creeks or in marshy, sandy areas, but can stand long dryness and all types of soil.

To encourage compact growth, cut the flowers just below the base of the brush as it is starting to deteriorate. Left longer, new growth will emerge from its tip.

CALLISTEMON. There are 20 true species,

all Australian. Among the red-flowered, shrubby types (6-8ft.) are C. citrinus (syn. lanceolatus), the crimson bottlebrush; C. violaceus, a reddish-purple variety of citrinus; C. rigidus, with sharp pointed leaves; C. brachyandrus, with smiller foliage and golden anthers; C. rugulosus, scarlet bottlebrush, with narrow leaves; C. teretifolius, bearded bottlebrush, stamens bearded at base, prefers dry conditions. (All these from eastern half of continent.) From W.A. two types-C. speciosus, with

large crimson flowers, and a variety of this, C. phoenicius, reputed brightest red.

C. viminalis is a taller growing, red-flowered

species sometimes over 15ft., with pendu- lous, willowy growth. Flowering begins in winter. C. salignus is a small tree with greenish-cream brushes, attractive, bronze pink new growth.

There are several unusual yellow species. C. palladus is a small tree with bright yellow, showy brushes; C. seibel a narrow leafed, alpine type, 4 to 6ft.

Some callistemon flower spasmodically dur-

ing the year, but mainly spring/summer. MELALEUCA. There are over 120 species

in Australia, two-thirds belonging to W.A. They are as adaptable as the callistemon. They include the paperbarks trees M. ericifolia, M. linarifolia, and M. leucaden dron or cajeput, which grow in swampy areas: also the bracelet honey myrtle, M. armiliaris (15-30ft.). with dense, fine dark foliage and white candle-like flower spikes in spring; and the granite honey myrtle, M. elliptica (10-15ft. ), with crimson flowers in spring.

Then there is a variety of beautiful shrubby forms with dazzling scarlet, mauve, pink, yellow, and white flowers. Some are: Reds. M. laterita, robin redbreast, orange

scarlet; M. fulgens, the scarlet honey myrtle, with unbelievably bright scarlet little brushes; or M. stedmani, which is darker, its stamens usually spangled with golden pollen; M. thymifolia, low-growing, with clusters of fringed purple flower»; M. A hypericifolia, with hypericum-like foliage

and flower on inner growth (a tough old garden shrub for many years); mauve M. radula, the graceful honey myrtle (6ft.), with fine, bluish, eucalyptus-like foliage and gold-tipped, pinkish-mauve brushes on pen- dulous branches: M. pulchella, or claw flower, low-spreading, with tiny foliage and unusual clusters of clawed, mauve stamens; M. nesophila (8ft.), showy honey myrtle, dark green foliage, small mauve brushes.

Yellows. M. incana, grey honey myrtle

(8ft.), dense grey, small, hairy foliage, gracefully pendulous; light yellow brushes. M. megacephala (4ft.), showy yellow flowers at end of stems; M. densa, dense honey myrtle (3ft.), compact; small yellow

or white brushes.

Others in the family myrtacaea include:

The gay verticordias (pink or red father

flower) and yellow morrison, from W.A. There are also Vic. and S.A. species.

Also geraldton wax (chamelaucium) ; lilli pillis (eugenias); fringed heather myrtle (micromyrtus), resembling thryptomene: tristania, the brush box and river box; agonis or willow myrtle; angophora or Sydney red gum (closely related to eucalyptus); and the mighty genus eucalyptus itself with over 600 species.

CAESALPINEACAE: Bauhinias, cassias

'J'HE caesalpineacae aie a division of the

original legume family. They also have five petals, but unlike the peas the top one is inside the bud, not enclosing the others, and the lower ones don't form a keel.

They include: Bauhinias, with several species native to northern Australia (the name commemorates loth-century herbal- ists James and Casper Bauhin. The twin leaves of bauhinia symbolise the two brothers), and cassias (from kasia, a plant of the senna family. Cascara is obtained from C. fistulosa).

C. Australis resembles the garden variety

of C. candolliana, but smaller. To 3ft. Eastern Australia, Northern Territory. C. eremophila (desert loving); narrow, dark

green leaflets, dense yellow clusters of small flower in spring. All States except

Tas.

C. artemisioides. The name simply describes

the plant. Artemesia is the well-known grey-foliaeed ghost bush (the suffix "oides" means like). Compact, rounded shrub, 3-4ft.. with silver-grey ghost bush foliage, a foil for the spangle of small, golden flowers in spring. Drought-resis- tant. Natural to W.A., S.A., inland Vic, N.S.W., and Qld.

Kunzea sericea.

Callistemon citrinus.

Eucalyptus torquata.

--- «

Melaleuca fulgens.

THE MYRTLE FAMILY

Calothamnus quadrifious.

Eugenia australis, the lillipilly.

Callistemon salignus.

Callistemon speciosus.

Grevillea leucopteris.

PkOTEACEAE

Grevillea acanthifolia.

Dryandra formosa.

Banksia collina.

Grevillea laurifolia, the creeping grevillea.

The Menzies banksia.

/;iWUWii»i'M'""*"^llMl - ll -IIMlll^ll»»!!**" -" Jill lu M tl- IT MW > .ll!. ll ii, ll- . - i Mi ri J- n fc- " - n - ifr

PrOt6aCea6: Hakeas, grevilleas, banksias

^NOTHER large portion of our Aus-

tralian natives belong to the interest- ing family proteaceae.

Proteaceae include the grevilleas, hakeas, telopea (waratah), persoonias (or gee bungs), lambertias (or mountain devils), isopogons (cone flowers), stenocarpus (the Queensland firewheel tree), macadamia, banksias, dryandras, lomatia (or parsley fern), comospermum, and several other lesser-known genus.

Their flowers have a great diversity of form, and from this comes the family name, after Proteus, the sea god who was reputed. to have the power to change himself into many forms.

Some, like the persoonias, have regular flowers with stamens and petals of equal sizes and evenly spaced around the flower. Most others, like grevilleas, telopea, banksia, and so on, have irregular flowers.

The four petals characteristic of the family are fused together on one side of the ovary, with the four stamens fused and embedded in them, forming a cup- like receptacle. The pistil is prominent above the flowers. Proteaceae petals and stamens are deciduous, falling away from

the pistil and ovary when their function is completed.

Most proteaceae are hardy, and with- stand long periods of dryness. Most adapt themselves to light or heavy soils.

Telopea and some of the banksias seem to need the presence of a fungus (mychoriza) at their roots. This is usually present with most nursery plants, but otherwise can be introduced by incorpor- ating soil taken from around where the plants are growing naturally, or from

leafmould found around banksias.

HAKEAS

Among hakeas - quick-growing H.

saligna, for hardy screen or windbreak; unusual H. laurina, with large cream pin cushion studded with long red stamens; H. multilineata, W.A. grass-leafed hake?, with red brush-like flowers, the only one which challenges cultivation in some areas. Smaller types are H. erinacea, pink hedgehog-like flower (2ft.); H. pur- purea crimson (3ft.); H. roei, mauve (5ft.).

GREVILLEAS

Grevilleas range from G. robusta, the 40-50ft. silky oak, to prostrate G. repens,

the creeping grevillea with toothed, oval leaves and reddish flowers. A wide variety of interesting and beautiful grevilleas is becoming available, including ground cover types. All are adaptable to most

soils and climates.

BANKSIA

Many banksias are interesting and color- ful, preferring a fairly light soil.

Among the larger ones are gnarled old B.

ser rula ta of the eastern coast; B. integni folia, with greenish-yellow cones and re- sistance to salty winds; compact B. erica folia (12ft.), with dense, green foliage and long orange-red cones in winter; B. grandis (10ft.), the yellow-spiked bull banksia from W.A., with the long-toothed leaves popular for dried arrangements; B. coccínea (7ft.), the colorful W.A. scarlet banksia; B. collina (7-1 Oft.), with attractive, pine-like foliage, bronze cones. The colorful W.A. dryandras are closely linked with the banksias. Their flowers form in a cluster from a terminal head, while banksia flowers form around the sides of a vertical spike.

fr - u-ü - u - ü- - - o.-... - ..-.n-h-o - " - "fr

RUTACEAE

Ali members of the ruta ceae family have oil glands in the foliage and a characteristic aroma. Boronias and eriostemon

are examples.

'J'HE leaves forming the calyx or cup in

which the flower of the rutaceae

rests (sepals) are either four or five. Petals are four or five, the stamens alter- nate with petals, and are the same number or twice as many as the petals.

The pistil and ovary is above the base of stamens and petals (hypogenus flower).

Boronia (after Francesco Borone, the botanist who helped put together the record "Flora gracea," until his sudden death in 1794) is exclusively Australian.

Boronias all have a characteristic, spicy aroma. The flower has four sepals, four petals, eight stamens. They are delightful garden plants, preferring an acid, sandy loam and plenty of water in summer. Mulch with leafmould, rather than culti- vate the surface. Add peatmoss to hold moisture and increase acidity.

For lists, see page 12

LABIATAE, the lipped ones (include native mint, westringia, ajuga)

'J'HE labiatae are a family with a

strangely persistent similarity in growth character as well as flower make-up. It includes garden plants such as thyme, sage, mint, basil, salvia, and coleus, as well as our native mint bushes (prostanthera), westringia, ajuga, and native mush (plect ranthus).

Labiate means lipped, referring to the lipped petals which form the tube or

corolla of these flowers.

Labiatae have squared rather than rounded stems, leaves are always opposite,

or in whorls of four. Most have a charac- teristic, pungent odor.

Labiatae flowers are irregular. The calyx persists after the flowers fall, the flowers are four or five petals formed into a tube, with two or four stamens in pairs inserted in the tube of the flower and alternating with its lower lobes. Often one pair is without pollen.

Some differences which group the family into its various genera are: Wes tringia and ajuga both have a calyx with

five equal lobes - the vvestringia has leaves in whorls of four, while ajuga has opposite leaves. Prostanthera and plec tranthus both have a two-lipped calyx, but in plectranthus the lower lobe is four toothed. In prostanthera, it is unbroken (entire).

Westringia is one of our most adaptable little shrubs. It rapidly forms a compact mass of dense, grey-green foliage, and carries small, pale mauve flowers. It grows naturally within reach of salt spray, but is also happy in dry inland areas, in full

sun or under the light shade of tall gums. Grows in sand or heavy soil if drainage is good.

these purple mint bushes, scattered over the hills of our sandstone gullies, make a glorious picture in spring. Fortunately, they are becoming prominent in our gar- dens as these natural stands disappear.

In heavy soil they may be short lived unless the surface is kept free with leaf mould. Mulching saves cultivation, which they resent. Prune back lightly in spring after flowering.

IN THE RUTACEAE FAMILY: BORONIA and ERIOSTEMON

triostemon obovalis,

the fairy wax flower.

Boronia serrulata,

the native rose.

Right: Boronia denticulata.

Eriostemon buxifolia.

1

Boronia pinnata.

Right:

Boronia ledifolia, Sydney boronia.

BORONIA is exclusively Australian, and of 21 ERIOSTEMON (wax flower) species only one is found outside Australia, on the island of New Caledonia.

THE RUTACEAE:

Continued from page 10

There are about 60 species of boronia. Commencing with the earliest to flower,

here are some of them:

B. megastigma (megasrigma, large stigma). Sweetly perfumed brown boronia from the jarrah country, south-western W.A. Cupped flowers are deep purple-brown on outside, yellow inside. Flowers in twos or threes from axil of fine leaves. Plants should not be let dry out. They prefer an acid, light-to-medium soil, some shade. In cultivation they often die out after a few years, but grow and flower quickly, and replacement isn't difficult.

B. ledifolia. Bright pink, upturned star-like flowers almost cover plant, June to early September. Showy, upright, plant to 3ft. Grows naturally among low scrub and scribbler gum on sunny hillsides of east coast. Prefers sandy soil, regular moisture, good drainage.

B. denticulata. Compact, bushy type from W.A. Slightly toothed, pale green foliage, scattered with upright, deep pink flowers, often late winter to late spring. Grows easily in most acid soils if kept moist in

summer. To 3ft.

B. heterophylla. Upright but compact, to

about 5ft. Covered with rosy red, long petalled, cupped blooms, early spring. From same swampy regions of W.A. as brown boronia, so needs plenty of water. This boronia is in many Australian gar- dens, in light-sandy and heavy soils.

B. pinnata. Another beauty. Soft, glossy,

finely divided foliage, large clusters waxy pink, semi-cupped flowers at ends of slen- der branches. Prefers light, moist soil, some shade. Often found in same coastal sandstone areas as B. ledifolia, but in more shaded patches in moist, cool gullies; 3 to 8ft. All Sutes except W.A. Flowers Sep-

tember-December.

B. floribunda. Similar to B. pinnata, usually more branching, carries more flowers. Color varies, but usually pale pink.

Boronia serrulata, native rose. Exquisite

little plant. Serrated, diamond-shaped leaves close-set along stems crowned with a rosetted cluster of bright, rose-pink flowers. In the few places where this still grows naturally is found lightly shaded by thin scrub in warm, sandy gully flats or

slopes rather than the deep, cool gorges. Needs light but sheltered corner away from cultivation, regular soakings in summer. Sandy loams suit best. To 2ft., spreading growth.

Other boronias worth cultivating are B. elatior, W.A. tall boronia, 3-5ft.; B. pun chella (W.A.) 2-3ft.: B. pilosa, low-growing alpine variety from the south-eastern quar- ter; B. ofroseri, later flowering species, east

coast.

ERIOSTEMON

Eriostemon resembles boronia. The main botanical distinction is that it has five petals, ten stamens. Boronia has four and eight. Petals are usually heavier, waxy, and have less aroma. There are 20 species native to Australia, one to New Caledonia.

Name is of Greek origin-erion, wool; stcmon, thread. This refers to the hairy

stamens or filaments of the flowers.

Some eriostemon, such as E. myoporoides, are extremely hardy and widely used in Australian gardens. It makes a compact, rounded shrub of 3-4ft., with lance-shaped leaves (like myoporum or boobialla). It is covered in pink, starry flowers, winter

spring, grows in sun or part shade, heavy or light soil, tolerates dryness.

E. lanceolarus, or pink wax flower, also with

lance-like foliage, is an east coast treasure. The largest flowered eriostemon. Broad petalled, slightly cupped, waxy-pink flowers, late July to September. Best in warm, gritty, acid sandstone soil, light shade. E. buxafolia is another worthy east coast variety. Foliage is short, broad, stiff (like a buxus) and dark, contrasting with the pale flowers, pink buds.

E. crowei. Hardy, attractive dwarf, to 18in. Long foliage, red flowers. Found in heavier loams, and sandy soil close to

salt water. Eastern States.

E. verrucosa, earlier listed as E. oboralis. Known as Bendigo wax because it is pro- lific in rocky outcroppings around Bendigo, Vic. Also occurs in Tas., S.A., N.S.W. Flowers not unlike E. myoporoides or buxafolia, but leaves short, sparse, and the same fleshy green as the stem In culti- vation rarely exceeds 3ft., but in some rich pockets around Bendigo attains about 9ft. E. verrucosa, variety Mrs. J. Semmens. Beautiful double, with pendulous growth. E. spicatus. Attractive, narrow-leafed W.A.

variety. Upright spikes, mauve-pink

flowers.

Boronia hererophylla

E. glasshousiensis, or glasshouse wax flower. Attractive, free flowering. Large, soft, spatula-shaped foliage when in mild coastal districts, but smaller, stiffer leaves when

in more extreme inland areas.

E. queenslandicus, wallum waxflower. Neat

shrub resembling a dwarfed E. myoporoides.

E. banksii, Bank's waxflower. Large leafed

species from Cape York.

Interesting hybrids of various native species are now becoming available.

SOME OTHER INTERESTING MEMBERS OF THE RUTACEAE FAMILY

CROWEA. Similar to eriostemon, with

narrower and bearded anthers. Flowers occur singly, in leaf axils.

C. dentata. Beautiful W.A. shrub; to about

2ft. Small, pointed, slightly toothed foliage, starry white flowers close above reddish stems.

C. exalata. Compact dwarf, with dark green, slender foliage; deep rose flowers for months. Easily cultivated, adaptable. Philotheca. Also closely resembles erioste- mon. Where eriostemon has 10 free stamens, in philotheca they are fused to- gether at the base. P. australia rarely ex- ceeds 1ft. Densely packed, fine foliage lying close to the stems; attractive, mauve pink eriostemon-like flowers, late spring. Found in sandy soils of east coast.

Phebalium. Resembles eriostemon, but has minute scales on the petals. In general appearance has little resemblance to others of rutaceae family, as phebaliums have large heads of tiny flowers at the ends of

branches, and are white or yellow.

P. dentatum is found in the moist gullies of

the east coast. Clusters of tiny white flowers with yellow stamens coming from the leaf axils; long, narrow foliage.

P. glandulosum. Narrow leaves, widening

toward ends; clusters of showy, yellow flowers. All States except W.A.

Zieria has four petals like boronia, but four

stamens instead of eight.

Z. smithii. Clusters small, white flowers

along stem, stiff, lance-like leaves about lin. long, in threes. Sometimes known as stink wood, as nature was heavy handed with the tangy aroma.

CORREA. The general appearance of this plant doesn't resemble other members of the family, as it has graceful bells rather than star-like flowers, but in pattern the flower is close to boronia - four petals, eight stamens - but the petals are more elongated and united for most of their length into a cylindrical tube or bell.

In S.A. and N.S.W. correas are often known

as native fuchsia, but in Victoria this is the name for Epacris longiflora, closely

related lo the heaths.

The correas are interesting, attractive, and

adaptable as a garden plant. They grow in most roils except tough, sticky clay. Although they prefer a light acid loam, most are more tolerant to slightly alkaline

soils than the boronias.

For shaded positions: C. bauerlenii (3-4ft.) Long green foliage, pendulous, greenish yellow bells. C. lawrenciana (8ft.) Moun- tain correa, with long, leathery foliage, yellow bells. (Some varieties are red or purple.) C. pulchella. Beautiful, semi prostrate type; long, tubular salmon flowers, buff inside and sometimes on dp. C. rubra. Red, cream tip.

C. alba. Round, grey-green foliage, masses white flowers in winter. Grows exposed to wind, sun, and salt spray on cliffs by sea.

RAISING NATIVE PLANTS FROM SEED OR CUTTING

The method of propagation depends on the genus being grown. Some seeds, such as acacia

and those of the pea family, need heat stimulation before they will germinate.

THERE are nurseries now special-

ising in native plants, and even general nurseries are extending their range. It is also interesting to try propagating some of your own plants.

Some genera are best grown from seed -acacias, most of the pea flowers. Christ- mas bush, flannel flowers, callistemons, melaleucas, and other myrtaceae. N.S.W. Christmas bush, waratahs, native iris, and all the lily family.

Some prefer to grow boronias and other rutaceae from seed, others from cuttings.

Hard seeds, such as peas and wattles, germinate readily only after they have been stimulated by heat. In nature they come up readily after a fire.

Soft seeds, such as callistemons and melaleucas, normally retained during the life of the parent, don't need heat treat-

ment.

Wattles and pea flower seeds can be stimulated artificially to germinate by placing them in a container, pouring near boiling water over them, and allowing them to cool. Leave them to soak, over- night. Those obviously swollen are re- moved and planted, unaffected ones treated again.

I-1

Or, sow them in a seed box or bed, cover to about twice their depth with soil, then an inch or so of dry leaves and light twigs or a couple of inches of loosely packed straw. Set this alight, al low it to burn out, then water carefully but thoroughly. a,

The rutaceae family, possibly except the W.A. varieties, germinate better after this treatment. In nature, young ones rarely appear until a fire has been

over them.

THE SOIL

Many different soil mixtures are recom- mended, and most give good results. It must be a crumbly, not too fine mixture, firm but sufficiently open to allow water to penetrate easily, and not cake or set

Anigozanthus (Kangaroo paw).

hard when dry. So avoid loam containing a high proportion of clay, also fine sand, as this packs too closely and doesn't let moisture and air penetrate.

If the sand is coarse and gritty, add about two-thirds its volume of rotted, shredded leafmould or the same of moistened peatmoss. With fine sand, in

crease the proportion of leafmould or

peatmoss.

Proprietary seed-raising mixtures give good results, especially those with a lot of vermiculite. This reduces transplanting losses, as the delicate hair roots enter the particles, which are light enough to come away with them. In soil mixtures the deli- cate root membrane is o7ten damaged by the movement of heavy sand particles.

These mixtures can be made by mixing four parts by volume of vermiculite with one of moistened, shredded peatmoss. Add mild nutrient by watering with liquid manures (Thrive, Aquasol, Zest), at two thirds normal strength. Damping-off losses

of melaleucas and boronias are fewer in these mixtures.

Vermiculite alone is too alkaline for many plants. Peatmoss counteracts this.

Glass over seedbox will conserve

moisture by reducing evaporation. Con- trary to common belief, most native seeds are best in a lightly shaded position, especially most rutaceae and myrtaceae, which in nature usually have protection in early stages.

Transplanting demands care. Either carefully remove to larger containers when very young and shade until re-established or leave in the seedbox until autumn.

Wattles and peas, among the most sen- sitive, are sometimes sown two or three seeds to a container, then .thinned out to

one.

Desert pea (clianthus) is best sown dir- ect where it is to flower. Special treatment is mentioned under the description of the

genus.

Right: Isopogon anthifolius.

GROWING FROM CUTTINGS

Cuttings exactly reproduce features such as color. From seed, there is variation. Cuttings often mature more quickly than plants from seed, and many growers say their cutting-grown natives are longer lived than seedlings, probably because t h e calloused area of the cutting often produces a better root system.

Only the layer of tissue known as CAMBIUM is capable of growth. It can produce new shoots in an emergency, callous-over the damaged or cut portion of the stem, and form roots.

The cambium layer is usually thickest at a junction of stem or leaf, so cuttings are either taken with a heel (actually part of the stem junction) or just below a leaf joint, for here the chance of callousing and root formation is greatest.

Root formation is often the major prob- lem, as cut foliage usually transpires water more quickly than the cut stem can absorb it from the soil.

The younger the wood used and the greater the soil temperature, within

Continued on page 15

Interesting plants from other families

QTHER families not mentioned in detail

but embracing genus worthy of a place in any native garden include:

Hibbertia, belonging to family dilleniaceae. Well-known east coast varieties are the wonder guinea flower, H. volubilis, which grows from the lush, sheltered rain forests to the sand of the exposed beaches. It has flat, golden flowers about 3in. across.

Among the smaller flowered shrubby types

are H. dentata and H. nitida, and a de- lightful fine foliage species, H. stelaris, with a mass of showy, small, deep apricot flowers, early August to late spring.

Tetratheca (family tremandraceae ), an

attractive little plant with rosy pink, four petalled spreading bells from small slender

stems.

Pittosporums, trees with attractive foliage and, usually, orange berries.

Hymenosporum or native frangipani be-

long to the same family.

Thymelaceae is another interesting family. The notable Australian genus is pimelea, proving an excellent garden plant. P. feruginea is the finest of the pink species. The qualip-bells are also interesting and attractive, but not widely cultivated.

Bauera, the dainty pink dog rose which

romps profusely along the creeks, is also I adaptable to a variety of garden situations.

Until recently was in the family saxi fragaceae, but now has family of its own,

bauraceae.

Actinotis, the flannel flowers, have a place in

Below: Patersonia glabrata.

any native garden. They belong to umbelli ferae. The true daisies belong to com positae, a large, well-organised family with hundreds of little individual flowers packed together on the one stem (the centre of the daisy), all sharing the embellishment of the outer petals which encircle them.

The goodeniaceae is another family worth

knowing. Its most spectacular member is the W.A. leschenaultia or mirror of heaven, the bluest of all blue flowers. It grows in any well-drained, light soil, sometimes surviving for only a few years, but it gives so much pleasure it is worth replanting each year.

Also in this family are dampiera, not as

spectacular as leschenaultia but a delightful blue; and scaevola or fan flower, a wan- dering, shrubby plant with interesting,

lavender-blue flowers.

Epacridaceae is another large family which

contributes great beauty to the bushland. The heaths or epacris belong to this family, among them delightful E. longi

Blue Leschenaultia biloba, buff

colored Hibbertia stelaris.

Dampiera stricta.

flora which graces cliffs and rocky road- side cuttings with sprays of long, slender, showy red bells with creamy white tips. The sprengelas and styphelias, five corners, are also members of this family.

Then there are a number of lilies, irises, and a fascinating variety of native Australian orchids. (See page 16.)

Leschenaultia formosa*

Epacris tongi flora.

Pimelea feruginea.

Hibbertia volubilis, twining guinea

flower.

r

RAISING FROM SEED OR CUTTING- continued

From page 13

reason, the quicker the root formation. But under these conditions loss of water is greater, and the cutting more likely to collapse.

Nurserymen overcome this by placing the pots of cuttings on heated benches, with mist sprays keeping the air moisture saturated to prevent foliage water-loss. The home gardener can't do this, but can devise ways to retain a moist atmosphere.

These include plastic bags over pots of cuttings, inverted jars over single cuttings in the ground, or improvised cutting frames, such as pots in a large, closely fitted box with a sheet of glass over the

top.

But remember - expose these con

trivances, closed up, to direct sunlight and the temperature inside may kill the cuttings. So, shade glass jars or plastic bags, and either whitewash the glass or place a sheet of paper below it. Evapora- tion means loss of heat, so closing the box or bag to reduce evaporation also con- serves soil temperature.

After a few weeks more light may be allowed, but in ratio lift the glass or open the plastic bag to allow excess heat to

escape.

Type of cutting

The type of cutting depends largely on the time of the year it is taken. Soft wood cuttings develop roots more rapidly in mid-summer, when they are more

readily available. Young wood usually means new growth that is just losing its sappiness.

Older, harder wood is better in winter when growth is relatively dormant. In spring, go halfway between. Experience with different types of plant will help

here.

Minimise soft growth's moisture-loss from the minute it is cut. Place immedi- ately into a plastic bag with wet cloth or wet vermiculite in the bottom, and tie up opening. Always protect from the

sun.

Pieces 2in. to 3in. long are usually best. Cut the leaves from the fin. to lin. sec- tion going Into the soil (pulling often damages stem).

Trim off soft tip growth, trim away

I

Christmas bells (Blandfordia).

about two-thirds of the rest of the foliage

to reduce the demand for moisture.

Soil is important. In mediums with too much soft, organic material, cuttings can callous and remain alive almost indefinitely without making root.

Sharper, harder mediums such as gritty sand usually give best results. Two-thirds coarse sand, one-third moistened, shredded peatmoss is good.

Hormone powders or liquids sometimes give good results and speed formation of root growth - or can make little differ- ence, but they are w-orth trying.

Flowerpots are best for cuttings, as they

can be firmed toward the side of the

pot, and are easy to remove later. A 5in. pot should take about 20 small cuttings set about fin. from the side. Avoid dam- age to the stem by first making the hole for the cutting with a long nail or knitting

needle.

Telopea, the waratah.

TO GROW NATIVE PLANTS (their soil, drainage, location needs)

Retain this mound with casually placed bush stone like a natural rocky outcrop- ping, or hold by timber or flagging set on edge. In the latter cases, place an inch or so of coke or rubble before filling in the sand, and allow weep holes every couple of feet.

Good drainage is necessary, but the soil should not dry so quickly as to make watering a task in summer. Here, peat- moss will help, especially for boronias, epacris, Christmas bells, and other plants which need regular moisture. Use about an inch layer of previously moistened peat- moss for every 6in. depth of sand. Mix in by raking, then stirring the soil over

several times.

3. If the soil is a medium loam, but

inclined to cake, spread a 2-3 in. layer

of sand and work in. Coarse river sand

. Left: Sturt's pea growing in an ideal garden setting - a sunny, built-up rockery, (See notes on

cultivation, page 5.)

is best here. Rotted leafmould and peat-

moss could also be added.

Drainage: Where water lies after rain, attend to the drainage. Put in agricul- tural pipes (in slotted plastic lengths, porous cement, or terracotta) about 18in. deep, sloping gradually to a point where the water can escape, at surface or into a sump. Most garden guides give details

of this.

Mulch: Rarely in nature are plants found growing in soil without some natural covering such as leafmould, pebbles, or a mat of smaller cover plants. This provides anchorage, a cool, undis

turbed root system, and prevents soil splashing and caking over the lower main stem, detrimental to many plants.

Try a mixed cover-occasional patches of leafmould, pebbles, and flat stones which also can be stepping-stones, and save com- paction of the soil.

Even ground-cover plants such as kennedya establish better if stems and foliage are protected from splashing soil.

Shade: Don't be afraid to add a few small trees or large shrubs to the native garden. Most of our smaller shrubs grow under this type of light cover in natural

bushland.

These will tolerate heavy, clayey soils

Acacia cultriformis, 8ft. ; A. farnersiana, 1 Oft. : A. jonesii, 6ft.: A. myrtifolia, 6ft.; A. baileyana, 15ft. ; A. pycnantha, 15ft. ; A. spectabilis, 12ft.

Anigozanthus (kangaroo paw), 3-5ft. Callistemon, all types.

Cassia artemisioides, 4ft. Chorizema. 4ft.

Correa pulchella, lft.

Eriostemon myoporoides.

Grevillea banksii, 10ft.; G. caleyi, 6ft.; G. dallachiana, 4ft.; G. juniperina, 6ft.

Hakea saligna, 15ft.

Hardenbergia ( prostrate ).

Kennedya rubicunda (prostrate). Lomatia (parsley fern), 3ft.

Melaleuca armillaris, 15ft.; M. laterita,

4ft.

Westringia rosmariniformis, 5ft.

Native orchids and lilies

^USTRALIA possesses a tremendous variety of native orchids. Some

are spectacular, others insignificant with unbelievably small flowers,

but all are interesting.

Some of the better known are the Dendrobiums, technically described as epiphytes, as they grow on trees or rocks with partly exposed roots. These are distinct from terrestrial orchids, which grow with fleshy roots

or tubers in the soil.

Perhaps the best-known dendrobium is the rock lily, D. speciosum. On much smaller scale is pink rock lily, D. kingianum, a delightful gem with 2-4in. spikes of small, dainty pink flowers.

D. faJcorustrum, the Dorrigo orchid, is a creamy-white, fragrant tree dweller from the rain forests. D. Anguiforme is a short, woody-leafed rock climber with feathery white sprays of flower. From the tropics we have the showy pink Cooktown orchid, D. bigibbum, and scores of others.

The Sacrochilus resemble dendrobiums. S. falcatus is the dainty white orange blossom orchid. S. Fitzgeraldii is a soft pink-flowered species.

Some of the best known among the terrestrials are the beautiful blue sun orchid, Thelymirra ixioides. Then there are dainty Glossodias, the fine stemmed white, mauve, or pink cockatoo orchids, the strangely bearded Calochilus, and pink spotted hyacinth orchids (dipodium)-and hundreds

more, in an array of shapes and sizes.

The kangaroo-paw (An i gozan thus) and Christmas bell (Blandfordia), both members of the lily family, grow in most soils, the latter preferring a fairlv moist position. The spear-lily, gigantic lily or gymea, botanically known as Doryanthes, is strictly an amaryllis but closely related to the lilies. It grows in the sandstone area of central N.S.W. coast, with flower stems to 15ft.

LEFT: Dendrobium fal corusrrum, the Dorrigo orchid, grows in its nook in a tree-trunk in keep- ing with its habit as an

epiphyte type.

RIGHT: The orchid Den- drobium speciosum puts out a golden cascade of flower spikes beneath a Moreton Bay fig tree.

Zoom

plus
thumb
minus
left
thumb
right
up
thumb
down