A shrub to about 1 metre tall.
Its natural distribution is in moist karri forests in south-west Western Australia, from Bunbury to east of Esperance.
Eutaxia is a member of the “pea” family. This generally means that leaves are alternate with stipules at the base of the petioles. Eutaxia have simple and opposite leaves, with stipules present and tiny, or absent or caducous which means forming and then falling off quickly.
In this species, leaves are green-blue in colour, lanceolate to elliptic to 2 cm, with a decussate arrangement (each following pair of leaves comes off the stem at right angles to the preceding and proceeding pair).
Flowers are, of course, pea-shaped (a term sometimes used is papilionate), with 5 petals in a fixed arrangement; the main back petal is called the “standard”, two lateral petals called “wings” and two fused petals at the bottom called the “keel” (in which the anthers and one carpel tend to be hidden). In this species, they are produced solitarily or in small groups in leaf axils and are yellow with a red keel; appearing is spring, about 1 cm long and wide.
The fruit of all peas is a pod. Seed pods are ovoid, flattened or turgid; seeds with an small elaisome (fat body) attached.
This was a popular plant in the 1970s and 1980s when growing native plants took off on the East coast of Australia. During those times, the author and many other tried to grow plants for Western Australia and Eutaxia myrtifolia was one such plant. While classified as hardy, a lot of growers were not successful and as a result, this species fell out of favour. It is only recently that it has been available again and it is well worth growing, in dappled well drained soil which is moist but not wet.
This Editor planted one plant in a southern Sydney sandstone-garden. It grew well for a year, flowered once and then died. So it may be temperamental.
Cultivated plants usually range between 0.75 to 1 metre high, and slightly less in width.
Flowers are long lasting and lightly fragrant and are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Plants may be propagated from cuttings or scarified seed.
Regenerates from seed bank after fire.
This species used to be known as Eutaxia obovata.
Eutaxia is a genus of about 10 species in Australia. Most are in WA with 2 occurring in NSW.
Eutaxia – Greek (ευταξία) meaning “orderly” or “to put in order” (orderliness). It is not known here why this name is applied. It may refer to the uniform structured order of the leaves of some species.
myrtifolia – Latin referring to the genus Myrtus and –folia meaning ‘leaves’ – reflecting that the leaves resemble some species of Myrtus.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
Western Australian Herbarium – Florabase – The Western Australian Flora https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/20214
Gardening with Angus – Eutaxia obovata profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/eutaxia-obovata-egg-and-bacon-plant/
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.