Westringia fruticosa

Coastal rosemary or coastal westringia

Family: Lamiaceae

The natural distribution is coastal NSW on eastern Australia, mainly from Forster to Eden, with a few scattered records on the tablelands and further north. It is known to be naturalised in Queensland.

It has neatly whorled leaves to 2 cm long. lt reaches at least 2 m high and can reach 5 m across, often forming a regular dome. The flowers are white, hairy and have the upper petal divided into two lobes (a shape known as labiate) and appear all year. They also have orange-to-purply spots on their bottom half. Fruits produced as 4 very small mericarps (nutlets) at the base of the calyx.

In the garden

This shrub is very tough and drought hardy and grows naturally on cliffs right next to the ocean in full sun. It will grow under a wide range of soils and conditions and responses to occasional watering
It is pollinated by native and introduced bees.

It is a good choice for seaside gardens and will withstand salt spray. A good feature plant or hedge. The upright growth makes it good for cut flowers.
It is not troubled by pests or diseases.

If regular pruning is not undertaken, the plant can be become very leggy and if then pruned hard will not reshoot. It can be pruned into a dense dome.

The common name ‘Rosemary’ refers to the appearance of the plant only. There are many hybrids using this plant as a parent.

Propagation

Cuttings or seed.

Other information

Not at risk in the wild.

The common name ‘Rosemary’ refers to the appearance of the plant only. There are many hybrids using this plant as a parent.

It is killed by fire but regenerates by seed.

Westringia – after Johan Peter Westring, an 18th century Swedish physician who administered to the King of Sweden and was an authority on lichens;
fruticosa – Latin meaning shrubby, bushy

References
• NSW Flora Online – PlantNET (http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Westringia~fruticosa)
• Some Magnetic Island Plants (https://www.somemagneticislandplants.com.au/native-rosemary)

By Jeff Howes