Eremophila decipiens

Slender Emu Bush / Slender Fushcia

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Eremophila decipiens is a small spreading shrub that reaches a height of one metre with a 1-metre spread.

It is a species that occurs naturally, primarily in the southern half of Western Australia, from east of Perth, north to near Denham (east of Dirt Hartog Island) and east of that region into the central parts of the state. It also extends into the south-west of South Australia, east to about Penong.

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and semi-arid to arid shrublands, on a range of soils from sand through to clay.

Eremophila spp. mostly have simple and alternate leaves (sometimes opposite or whorled). In this species, leaves are bright green, linear to lanceolate, to 45 mm long and about 10 mm wide (varying in length on the one plant), flat, sticky and with a pointed tip.

Eremophila spp. have 5-merous flowers with the 5 petals usually fused into a tube (tubulate to campanulate) with 5 petal-lobes (often described as 2-lipped with 3 upper lobes and 2 lower), occurring in small-numbered clusters per leaf axil. Flowers are often curved.

In this species, flowers are typically tubular with four upper lobes and one lower. Blooms are bright red, ornage or yellow, profuse and appear from April to November. Sporadic flowers appear at other times. As with many emu bushes, flowers are held on s-shaped pedicels (stalks).

The fruit of Eremophila is either a dry or fleshy capsule which splits open into segments. In this species, the fruit is dry and cylindrical, to about 8 mm long with a papery covering.

In the garden

A popular plant in cultivation. It prefers a well-drained soil in a warm sunny and low-humidity environment. Best planted on slopes or mounds on sandy to rocky soil.

Tip prune occasionally to keep plants dense and bushy. Hardy once established.

Slender Emu Bush could be grown as a foreground shrub in native garden beds or as a container plant.

Honeyeaters enjoy visiting the flowers.

Very useful for drier-area gardens. Can tolerate light frost.


Propagate from cuttings.

Other information

The species was named in 1921 from material collected near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Eremophila is a substantial Australian genus of around 220 species with, likely, many undescribed species. Most species are found in Western Australia and other Australian arid zones. They occur in all states except Tasmania. NSW currently has 21 species with some subspecies taxa.

Eremophila can regenerate from the seedbank after fire with some plants able to reshoot from stem buds as well as sucker from basal areas.

Eremophila – from Greek Erimos (ερημος) meaning “desert” and –philos (φίλος) referring to “friend” or “beloved” – referring to the mostly desert habitats of these plants.

decipiens – Latin meaning “deceiving” or “false”. This may refer to the species strong similarity to some forms of E. glabra.

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

Western Australian Herbarium – Florabase – The Western Australian Flora –                              Eremophila decipiens profile page https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/7193

Gardening with Angus – Eremophila decipiens profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/eremophila-decipiens-emu-bush/

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 Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.