The Acacia, more commonly known as wattle, is a shrub or tree which stands about 4-8m tall. The flowers are generally pale to bright yellow gold in colour. In Spring the Acacia produces an abundance of these fluffy, sweetly-scented flowers. There is around 1200 species of Acacia, 954 of which grow in Australia. Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) is the floral emblem of Australia. The green of the leaves and gold of the flowers is Australia's official colours.
The Cooktown Orchid is the floral emblem of Queensland. This is a small plant only about 80cm tall which, in the dry season, produces long stems of up to 20 flowers. The flowers are usually a shade of deep to pale lilac.
There are 75 species of Banksia, all of which can be found in Australia with one species also found on islands north of the continent. Most species are medium shrubs but there some tall tree varieties and Banksia's can be found in most environments. The flowers are varied but the most familiar is the cylindrical spike.
The most common trees in Australia are the Eucalypt, with over 500 species. With so many different species, you also get a wide variety in location, shape, and size. The Mountain Ash is the tallest hardwood in the world, reaching over 100m tall. There are other varieties such as the spotted gum and the red bloodwood which rarely grow more than 35m tall. Other types of Eucalypt include stringybarks, blue gums, alpine ash, jarrah, and karri.
This is the floral emblem of New South Wales. The Waratah is a shrub up to 4m in height with dark green, leathery leaves. The Waratah flowers are exhibited in Spring.
The Kangaroo Paw is the floral emblem of Western Australia and also my favourite native Australian flower. This is a low shrub with broad leaves and a flowering stem which is about a metre high. The colour is usually red and green but there are also black varieties.
Grevillea is the most popular native plant for gardens. There are over 300 species of Grevillea that come in various shapes and sizes. Most of these species are only in Australia but some can also be found in Papua New Guinea. It is a member of the Protea family and is related to other Australian natives including Banksia, Waratah, and Hakea. The Grevillea blooms most of the year and the flowers are small and varied. These flowers are a great attraction for honey-eaters.
Dryandra is a Proteaceae with 92 species and 36 subspecies. It is closely related to the Banksia and has flowers arranged in cone-like clusters. Most flowers are coloured cream, yellow, brown, or orange but there are one or two pink variations. Most Dryandra's are small to medium shrubs.
Another member of the Protea family is the Hakea. So far there is 130 species of Hakea with many more yet to be named. Most Hakea's are small to medium shrubs that are found in many different environments. The flowers are small occur in clusters which bloom in winter and spring. Hakea's are also a great attraction for honey-eaters. The flowers of the Hakea also seem to be as varied as the number of species.
Sturt's Desert Pea
This is the South Australian floral emblem. The Sturt's Desert Pea is a perennial with silky grey-green leaves covered with hairs. The flowers grow in clusters of 6-8 stalks and each flower is about 9cm long. The main colour of the flower is black and blood red or scarlet but there are variations.
Sturt's Desert Rose
Sturt's Desert Rose is the floral emblem of the Northern Territory. It is a shrub about a metre tall with 5cm long, round to oval leaves. The flowers can be seen in late winter and are mauve with red centres.
Victoria's floral emblem is the Common Heath. It is a small shrub about a metre tall with tubular flowers in autumn to late spring. The colours are varied and include white, crimson, scarlet, and pink. The pink is the official emblem.
There are around 170 species of which are part of the Myrtle family. The common name for Melaleuca is paperbark or honey myrtle. These small trees are popular in gardens and landscaping in Australia but in the wild, they grow along swamps and waterways.
Another member of the Myrtle family which is very similar to the Melaleuca and found in the same areas in nature. The common name of Callistemon is bottlebrush because of the cylindrical, brush-like shape of its flowers. All Callistemon's and many Melaleuca's have these types of flowers. The main difference between the two species is the way the stamens join to the floral tube.
Royal Bluebell is the floral emblem of the Australian Capital Territory. It is a small herb with oblong leaves and violet blue flowers.
Tasmanian Blue Gum
This is the floral emblem of Tasmania. It is a tall tree which grows to about 70m tall and the trunk can be around 2m in diameter. This tree produces cream flowers rich in nectar which makes a wonderful honey.