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Homoranthus prolixus

Family: Myrtaceae

A small spreading shrub to about 0.3 metres tall and up to 2 metres wide, creating a moderate cover.

It is restricted to a small area in NSW in the North West Slopes and Tablelands, specifically the Inverell and Bendemeer areas. It is typically found growing in amongst granite rocks and boulders on shallow soils, in heath and dry sclerophyll woodland.

Listed as threatened with extinction in the wild.

Leaves are blue-green, mostly linear, to 6 mm long and to 1 mm wide, with a tapered tip; arranged in opposite pairs with each pair at right angles to the last and next pair (decussate). The ends of the branches growing upwards slightly. The foliage is aromatic when crushed.

Flowers are produced in clusters of 1 to 6 at the terminals of the branches, with a tubular shape resembling flowers of the Darwinia genus, but rich-gold / yellow to red in colour. Flowers have a long protruding carpel that extends out from the rest of the flower. Flowers cover the whole top of the plant and have a strong aroma. Flowering occurs in late September to November and can be very showy.

The fruit is a nut, enclosed within the base of the flower (hypanthium) after flowering.

In the garden

This plant makes a great feature plant in the garden even when not in flower due to its attractive growth habit, leaf colour and its horizontal growth.

It can be pruned if the plant is spreading too widely, but it is advisable not to prune into the lower, older hard wood as it will not reshoot.
Excellent for rockeries and raised beds in full sun, on a sandy to loam soil. This is a very attractive low-growing plant.

Propagation

From cuttings with not too much difficulty.

Other information

The main form cultivated is Homoranthus prolixus ‘Golditops’ and is a readily available cultivar that is quite popular. This form was collected at Copeland Dam near Inverell by Ian Cox, Ray Brown and Peter Olde, three members of the ANPS Grevillea Study Group, while looking for a rare Grevillea. This form was collected due to its vivid deep-yellow flowers. The normal type has red to yellow flowers.

‘Golditops’ was propagated and introduced to cultivation by APS NSW member Brian Roach.

The author has grown quite a few of these plants over more than 10 years and finds them to be very hardy and virtually maintenance-free plants that are stunning in flower. They grow to a height of 80 cm and spread to about 1.2 m diameter.

At the time of publication ‘Golditops’ is only available from two nurseries, Westleigh Native Plants and Mole River Native Nursery.

Any other forms of the plant may be hard to source given the species threatened status in the wild.

Homoranthus – it is reported that this name is derived from the Ancient Greek words homos meaning ‘same’, ‘uniform’, ‘like’ or ‘similar’ and anthos meaning ‘flower’. However, it may also refer to omor in Greek (ομορ) which means ‘beautiful’, hence translating to ‘beautiful flowers’.

prolixus – Latin word meaning ‘stretched out’ or ‘long’, possibly referring to the long female styles that protrude from the flowers.

Golditops’ – named by Brian Roach to reflect the golden-yellow flower colour, which projects horizontally over the plant.

This species is listed as a threatened species at both the State and Commonwealth level with the category of Vulnerable.

 

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10411
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homoranthus_prolixus
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Homoranthus~prolixus

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke