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Lomatia fraseri

Tree Lomatia, Forest Lomatia, Silky Lomatia

Family: Proteaceae

Lomatia fraseri a member of the Proteaceae family and is known as Tree Lomatia, Forest Lomatia or Silky Lomatia.

The species is a shrub or small tree reaching a maximum height of eight metres. The species is characterised by a variety of leaf shapes.

They may be entire, toothed or deeply lobed. Lobes may be entire or toothed. They are dull green and leathery.

Flowers may be held in clusters (racemes) up to 12 centimetres long. Blooms are white to cream, fragrant and usually profuse. Flowers are similar in appearance to those of the grevilleas their close relatives.

The specimen illustrated, from our cold climate garden, has rather sparse flowers. This was cutting grown plant and this was probably its first flowering. We expect more extensive blooming in the future.

Lomatia fraseri flowers in summer. Blooms are followed by follicles up to three centimetres long. Each follicle carries a number of winged seeds. Follicles ripen from April to October when seeds are released.

Lomatia fraseri grows on the margins of cool and warm-temperate rainforest in mountain areas from Vic. to the Tenterfield district in northern NSW. The species copes well with our inclement climate on the northern tablelands. 

In New England National Park, east of Armidale also in northern NSW, this is one of the dominant understorey shrubs.

There is a bewildering range of leaf shapes in these populations. Some plants, in the park, may be hybrids with L. silaifolia as the other parent.

In the garden

A fragrant addition to the garden. It has nice leathery foliage and attractive sprays of white flowers. It may require reliable soil moisture to do well. It may be hard to purchase at native nurseries. 

Can grow to at least 5 metres tall, so allow some room. Will likely tolerate an enriched loam to clay-loam soil.   

Propagation

Propagate by seed or cuttings.

Other information

This species can likely regenerate from fire through the root system or from any seedbank. It grows commonly in fire prone areas.

Lomatia – named by Robert Brown from the Ancient Greek Loma (λῶμα) referring to the nature of the margins (edges) of the wings on the seed, which appear like a sewn hem or border.

fraserinamed for Charles Fraser (1788-1831), Colonial Botanist of NSW from 1821-1831 and early explorer of Swan River in WA. 

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

Yarra Ranges Council – Local Plant Directory – Lomatia fraseri profile page https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/PlantDirectory/Trees/Trees-3-25m/Lomatia-fraseri

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

VICFlora – Flora of Victoria online – Lomatia fraseri profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/31964b31-8a27-4d06-b832-dbcc026957ca

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