Australian Native Plants and Flowers

on Tuesday, 29 March 2011.

Australian Native Plants and Flowers


Did you know?

There are over 25,000 species of flowering plants native to Australia and we are matched only by South Africa in this abundance and diversity.  There are so many flowering plants in Australia that they haven’t even named them all yet!  Some experts believe there may be up to 30,000 natives in Australia.  Many of these are found nowhere else in the world, making them completely unique to Australia. 

All states throughout Australia are home to distinctive native flowers.  There are approximately 30 varieties which are commonly used in floristry throughout Australia to decorate Australian homes and businesses.  Many more are used occasionally or seasonally, or only in certain regions.  Every state in Australia has a native flower as its emblem, the Queensland floral emblem is the Cooktown Orchid.

Below we have listed just some Australian natives commonly used as cut flowers:-

  • Eucalyptus – Flower colour is mostly red, but can also be cream.  In some species the bud of the flowering gum is also very attractive and so branches displaying the buds are also sold and used in floristry.  Eucalyptus flowers are either bush-picked or grown in plantations.  Queensland, whilst not the main grower of the flowering Eucalyptus, does have an abundant supply of this plant.
  • Ixodia – This plant is commonly used either fresh or dry.  The ixodia has the amazing ability to close its flowers in the dark and then reopen again when brought back in to the light.  These flowers are daisy like in appearance and the foliage is sticky to the touch.  The Ixodia season is October to February.
  • Banksia – There are about 80 species of Banksia, with approximately 20 of these being used in the fresh flower industry.  Banksia flowers have a unique cone shape, which is made up of many tiny flowers coming up from the stem, giving them a fluffy appearance.  At first glance some Banksia varieties may even resemble the Scottish Thistle.  Banksia flowers are not scented and whilst most commonly found in yellow, can also be found in green, red and creamy orange.  Banksia flowers are grown in plantations and bush picking is discouraged.  Queensland is a major grower of Banksia flowers in many different varieties.
  • Gymea Lily – These are probably the largest flowers used in Australian native floristry, the flower spikes can reach as tall as 8 metres high.  Gymea Lily’s are grown mainly in Northern NSW coastal regions.  The flowers are red on the outside with a pink centre, and white forms are also grown and can sometimes take up to 10 years to produce a flowering stem.  The season for these plants is small, mainly being the period from September to November.
  • Christmas Bells – These plants are native to Southern Queensland and have been bush picked for many years as a traditional flower for the festive season, their prime season being November to January.  Cultivation began around 15 years ago and plantations now provide the majority of these fresh flowers.  Christmas Bell flowers resemble a long drooping bell, with several flowers per stem, and the most common colour combination is orange and yellow, although many can be found in red.  Christmas Bells also have no leaves on their stems.

Look out at your local farmers market for traders selling fresh flowers and plants!  Australia certainly has a wide choice available!


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