A shrub, growing to 2 metres tall and about 1 metre wide.
It is found mainly in the coastal areas of NSW, from Lake Conjola on the New South Wales south coast, northwards, mainly along the coast, to Fraser Island in Queensland, as far west as a zone between Taralga-Lithgow and Glen Innes-Tingha.
It grows in heathlands, shrublands and dry sclerophyll woodlands to forests. It is not often seen in very large numbers. It tends to be found on sandstone and sandy soils.
Eriostemon have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, the leaves are narrow-oblong to narrow-elliptic, to 80 mm long and to 14 mm wide, mid to dark green with oil glands.
Eriostemon have obvious 5-merous bisexual flowers with 5 sepals and petals, 10 stamens and 5 carpels (bearing a strong resemblance to Citrus flowers – their close relative) In this species, flowers occur in late winter to early spring; pink to white, to 4 cm across, produced near the apex of the stems, very showy with a star-shape.
The fruit is cluster of 1-5 cocci (singular coccus) – a dry schizocarp-like fruit which splits to release the seed. Each coccus is 9 mm long, brown in colour.
E. australasius is a very desirable plant for the garden but results in cultivation are mixed. It is best grown in a semi-shaded position in well drained sandy to sandy loam soils which are not allowed to dry out for extended periods. It will not tolerate waterlogged conditions but is tolerant of at least moderate frosts.
It has no known pests or diseases, but may suffer root rot if drainage is not adequate.
Prune after flowering to encourage a denser shrub and more flowering next season.
Difficult from seed and cuttings. There are some cultivated forms which reportedly strike easier from cuttings.
The genius Eriostemon has been recently revised and most species have been moved to Philotheca with the result there are only now 2 species native to Australia, E. australasius and E. banksii. New South Wales currently has 1 species.
This species likely regenerates from seed after fire.
Eriostemon – Greek – Erio from erion (έρίοv) meaning ‘wool’; and –stemon from stema (στῆμα) meaning “stamen”, referring to the woolly stamens of the flowers.
australasius – Latin = relating to Australia.
This species is not considered at risk in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Eriostemon australasius profile page http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eriostemon~australasius
Australia Native Plants Society Australia (ANPSA) – Eriostemon australasius profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/eriostemon-australasius
Robinson, L. (2003). Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney. 3rd Edition. Kangaroo Press, Pymble, NSW