Verticordia plumosa, the Plumed Featherflower, develops into a rounded shrub reaching a height of around 0.5 metres, with a similar spread.
It is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia, growing in a large area generally in the south-west corner, from just south-east of Geraldton, south-east to the east of Esperance in Cape Arid National Park and spreading south right up to the coast.
It grows in heathland, shrubland and mallee shrubland in seasonally wet areas on sandy soils, granite-based and other gravel-soils, on slopes and rock outcrops as well as road verges.
Verticordia spp. can have opposite and decussate leaves (where each pair of leaves is orientated at right angles to the adjoining pairs) or appearing scattered; or in whorls of 3 or 4. In this species, leaves are in tight whorls and heavily clustered along stems, linear, to 14 mm long and about 1 mm wide, blue-green / grey-green in colour; and with a somewhat semi-circular cross-section.
Verticordia spp. have 5-merous flowers, with 5 sepals, usually strongly lobed so as appearing ‘feathery’ and 5 petals (appearing similar in some cases to plants such as Chamaelaucium uncinatum (Geraldton Wax)); often arranged solitarily or in 3-flowered clusters in leaf axils extending to the terminals of shoots; with many clusters arranged together in leafy raceme-like or corymb-like arrangements. In this species, flowers are about 1 cm across, arranged in 3-flowered clusters from leaf axils; in corymbose groups at the terminals; bright pink in colour; mostly produced in spring.
The fruit of Verticordia is a 1-celled nut with 1 or 2 seeds. In this species, nuts are about 2 mm long.
A species that can be cultivated and grown successfully outside of its natural environment. It is reported to be the most reliable and commonly cultivated verticordia on the east coast.
It is reported that plants may be short lived in most cases.
Plants appreciate light pruning as the flowers fade.
Best planted in full sun in low humidity with good air flow, on a well-drained soil.
Verticordias are not happy growing in our cold climate garden [near Armidale, NSW]. Of all the species we have tried, Verticordia plumosa is the only one to have taken kindly to our chilly environment.We have a specimen that is at least ten years old and is still blooming bounteously.
Some years ago, on a visit to Western Australia, we observed that V. plumosa was the most common Featherflower in many bushland areas.
Propagation from cuttings is rapid and relatively easy.
This species likely regenerates from seed after fire.
Verticordia is a genus of around 100 species, with all but 2 species endemic to Western Australia. two species occur in the Northern Territory.
Verticordia – reportedly the genus name was never explained by DeCandolle but the name can be linked to Venus verticordia – one of the descriptive names of the Roman Goddess Venus – who is known as “The Changer of Hearts”; and to whom the myrtle was sacred.
plumosa – Latin – “plumose” – referring to the feathery-appearance of the flowers due to the fringed or lobed sepals.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
Western Australian Herbarium. Florabase: The Western Australian Flora. Verticordia plumosa profile page https://florabase.dbca.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/6110
Wikipedia – Verticordia plumosa profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verticordia_plumosa
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.