Correa baeuerlenii, the Chef’s Cap Correa, is a dense, rounded shrub reaching a height of 2 metres.
It occurs in scattered populations on the South Coast of NSW. The species is listed as threatened with extinction (vulnerable) with small, scattered populations over an area less than 150 kilometres, from north-west of Milton to Bega. Some populations are protected in Deua and Mimosa Rocks National Parks.
It is found mainly in wet and dry sclerophyll woodland and forest.
Correa spp. fall into the subgroup of Rutaceae that have simple and opposite leaves, along with 4-petaled flowers.
In this species, leaves are narrowly ovate, up to 7 cm long by up to 2.5 cm wide, glossy, with prominent glands on each surface and slightly aromatic when crushed.
Correa spp. often have mostly solitary flowers or up to 10 flowers arranged in cymes. In this species, flowers are tubular with the 4 petals mostly fused, greenish yellow, about 3 cm long, produced solitarily in leaf axils and pendulous. Flowering occurs between March and August with sporadic flowers at other times. The calyx is swollen with a flattened ridge and slightly darker green, reminiscent of a chef’s cap – hence the common name.
The fruit are composed of small woody cocci (segments) and is referred to as a schizocarpic-capsule with the cocci spliting apart. In this species, they are to 9 mm long, surrounded by the persistent corolla tube.
Correa baeuerlenii, is a handsome shrub even when not in flower. During the flowering period, the unusual, pendulous flowers add interest. It is commonly grown and usually readily available from native nurseries.
We lightly prune our specimens and keep them to a dense 1.5 metres.
Correa baeuerlenii should be grown in dappled sunlight to shade – avoid hot sunny areas. Apply some water in hot and dry times. Plant in a soil with good drainage with some enrichment.
Prune lightly after flowering. An excellent gap filler and foliage contrast plant with interesting and attractive flowers.
The survival of Correa baeuerlenii, as with many rare species, will be assisted by gardeners including plants in their domestic landscapes.
We propagate our “Chef’s Caps” from cuttings. They tend to be slower than other Correas to produce roots.
Correa is a genus of about 11 species, endemic to Australia, occurring in all states except the Northern Territory. NSW currently has 5 species.
Most correas would be killed in fire and regenerate from seed after fire.
Correa – named after Jose Correia de Serra (1750-1823), a Portugese abbot, scientist, politician and polymath who was friends with both Joseph Banks and Thomas Jefferson.
baeuerlenii – named after Wilhelm Baeuerlen (1840-1917), a German Botanist who worked extensively in NSW from 1883 – 1905 and who collected the type specimen.
This species is listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild, at both State and Commonwealth level, with the category of vulnerable.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Correa baeuerlenii profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Correa~baeuerlenii
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.
Hitchcock, M. (2010). Correas – Australian Plants for Waterwise Gardening. Rosenburg Publishing 2010.
Australian National Herbarium – Correa baeuerlenii profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp10/correa-baeuerlenii.html