Crowea saligna

Willow-leaved Crowea

Family: Rutaceae

Crowea saligna is a shrub up 1.5 metres high (usually smaller) and to 1 metre wide.

The species has a restricted distribution in the Greater Sydney basin, from Woy Woy in the north to Yerrinbool in the south and west to the Blue Mountains. It is typically found in sandstone heaths, shrublands and dry sclerophyll woodlands and forests.

Crowea belong to the subgroup of Rutaceae that have simple and alternate leaves along with 5-petaled flowers. In this species, leaves are elliptic to lanceolate, up to 80 mm long by 20 mm wide, mid to light green and dotted with oil glands. The foliage has a slight aniseed fragrance.

Crowea spp. tend to have comparitively large but solitary flowers. In this species, they are up to 3 cm across, in leaf axils, 5-petalled and usually range from pale to mid pink in colour. Flowers are usually seen in late summer through to mid-winter.

Fruit consists of a schizocarpic capsule which consist of cocci (woody segments) when it splits apart, to 7 mm long.

In the garden

Prefers a well-drained position in sun or semi shade with a moist soils but will tolerate extended dry periods once established. Some forms are more hardy than others.

A very tidy plant and attractive in flower. A good specimen plant.

It can be difficult to grow in some conditions. Plants can suffer from too much water. Plant in an area with free draining soil – perhaps near rocky outcrop or on high ground, in a sunny spot.

The author has found they can be hard to establish on planting but, once established, are quite hardy.

Usually pest free.


Cuttings usually strike readily from current season’s growth. Growing from seed will not come true to type.

Other information

Plants are likely killed by fire and regenerate from seed after fire.

Crowea is a genus of 3 species – endemic to Australia – occurring in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. NSW currently has 2 species.

Crowea – Named in honour of James Crowe (1750 – 1807) (by botanist James Edward Smith in 1798), surgeon and botanist and twice Mayor of Norwich.

saligna – from Latin salignus meaning “of the willow”, referring to supposed similarity of the leaves to the willow genus, Salix.

This species is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Crowea saligna profile page

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. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.