Eremophila polyclada

Flowering Lignum

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Eremophila polyclada, the Flowering Lignum, is a strongly bracnhing shrub, often forming a dense tangled bush, to 3 metres tall by several metres wide.

It is an inland species in NSW, growing on the north western and far-western plains as well as the south far-western plains, west from Lightning Ridge. It extends just into the very north-west of Victoria and the east of South Australia. It is common in Queensland, growing over most of the south-west quarter but also extending north-east towards Townsville. There are a few records in the east of the Northern Territory.

It grows in arid shrublands and mallee-shrublands, as well as dry sclerophyll woodlands, often on floodplains on clay and sandy deposits overlying clay (duplex soils).

Eremophila spp. mostly have simple and alternate leaves (sometimes opposite or whorled). In this species, leaves are alternate and linear, to 8 cm long and only 0.4 cm wide, with entire margins, mid to deep-green in colour. Reportedly, in times of drought, plants will stay alive but shed their leaves.

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, the large, eye-catching, tubular flowers are 35 mm long by about 15 mm wide; white or purplish-white with green or brownish spots; produced singularly of in pairs in the leaf axils; with the flowering period extending from September to May.

The fruit is dry, cylindrical to ellipsoide, about 13 mm long.

In the garden

Author’s notes: A plant that can be cultivated successfully and is commonly sought after; our specimens never seem to be without some blooms and grow to 3 metres tall.

It can be grown in full sun to some shade, on a well-drained soil clay to sandy soil. It will tolerate more moisture generally than some other species. Drainage must be adequate; however.

Light pruning will keep the foliage from becoming too straggly.

Creates a dense mass of foliage which will likely attract birds.


In common with most Emu Bushes, cuttings will produce roots rapidly.

Other information

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 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.

See our 2023 study group article on this genus:              https://resources.austplants.com.au/stories/why-do-eremophila-have-resin/

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

polyclada – from Greek – poly (πολύ) meaning ‘many’ and –clada / -clados (κλάδος) meaning “branches” or “young shoots” – capturing the heavily-branching (divaricate) habit of the species.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Eremophila polyclada profile page    https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eremophila~polyclada

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

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