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Boronia floribunda

Pale Pink Boronia

Family: Rutaceae

An erect, woody shrub to 1 metre.

It is found mainly in the Greater Sydney Basin and slightly further, extending from east of Kandos, straight south to east of Tallong, and east to the coast, occurring commonly in areas such as Bundanoon, Blackheath and Katoomba, the Royal National Park as well as Nattai and Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Parks.

It grows in heath, woodland and forest on Hawkesbury Sandstone soils.

Boronia spp. produce opposite leaves which can be simple or compound (sometimes on the same plant) and are usually aromatic (sometimes strongly-so).
In this species, the leaves are compound, with usually 5, to 7 or 9 leaflets. The leaflets are to 25 mm long and to 3 mm wide with the overall leaf up to 40 mm long.

Boronia have complete flowers (bisexual and with all whorls present). The flowers are produced either solitarily or in groups, in the leaf axils, or, at the branch terminals. There are usually four sepals, four petals and generally eight stamens, surrounding one female part (carpel). Flowers are often pink to purple, which makes them easily identifiable in NSW bushland.

In this species, flowers are usually white to pale pink, sometimes deep pink and are arranged in leaf axils, in groups of up to nine. Flowering mainly occurs from September to January.

The fruit of Boronia are described as a schizocarp-capsule; a capsule that splits into even segments, which each segment called a coccus.

In this species, the fruit is glabrous, to 5 mm long and to 3 mm wide.

In the garden

This species is not very well known in cultivation but would make a beautiful garden plant. It flowers heavily and only grows to a small size.

It may not have been trialled extensively at time of writing.

Growing boronias can be a frustrating experience and they have a reputation for being difficult. Their attractiveness has led to substantial efforts to cultivate them. One tip is to try to grow forms that are local to your area, rather than attempting to grow those species from interstate. There are certainly some species that have proven easier to grow than others.

Most Boronias have a short life span of two to three years in a garden situation but are a rewarding plant while healthy as they provide lovely fragrance and flowers in Spring.

For them to grow at their best, select a position with dappled sunlight and especially protection from hot afternoon sun in summer, as well as from wind, which they dislike.

The soil must be well drained and have an even supply of moisture. If they dry out, they will surely die.

Planting on a slight slope is said to work well.

For a longer life, the best way to grow them is in a medium sized pot, say 30 cm in diameter where drainage and moisture can be controlled. A sheltered patio or courtyard that receives at least a few hours sunlight a day would be ideal

Fertilise after flowering.

The conventional wisdom is, think deeply about which species to plant and the location to plant it.

Propagation

Boronias can be propagated from cutting but overall you will have limited success with most but not all species.

Other information

Boronia is a genus of about 160 species of flowering plants in the citrus family Rutaceae. Most species are endemic to Australia and species can be found in all states. There are also some species in New Caledonia, which were previously placed in the genus Boronella

Boronias are likely killed by fire and regenerate from the seed bank.

Boronia – after Francesco Borone (1769-1794), an 18th century Italian botanist who assisted John Sibthorpe. Allegedly, he died at age 25, due to falling out a window whilst collecting plant specimens.
floribunda – Latin meaning “abounding in flowers” or “flowering profusely”, referring to the showy flowering characteristics of the species

Not considered at risk of extinction in the wild.

Australian Native Plant Society Australia – Boronia Profile Page
http://anpsa.org.au/boronia9.html

Wikipedia – Boronia and Boronia floribunda profile pages
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boronia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boronia_floribunda

Gardening with Angus – Boronia for Beginners
https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/boronias-for-beginners-2/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke