Westringia 'Wynyabbie Gem'


Family: Lamiaceae

A cultivar growing to about 1.5-2.0 x 1.5-2.0 metres tall.

Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ is a hybrid between W. fruticosa and a mauve flowered form of W. eremicola. It arose in cultivation at Wynyabbie Nursery, Jindalee, Queensland in the 1970s.

Westringia spp. have simple and opposite or whorled leaves, usually in whorls of 3 to 5. In this cultivar, they are linear to 20 mm long by about 3 mm wide, carried in whorls of four; non-aromatic, green to grey-green and hairy on both surfaces and produced densely on stems.

Flowers have a shape described as labiate (applies to all Lamiaceae flowers) with 5 petals varying in their size, fused at their base, produced in leaf axils. One of the identification features which separates Westringia from Prostanthera is that the 5 calyx parts (basal whorl of the flower) are separated into 5 parts, whereas they are fused into 2 ‘lips’ in Prostanthera. Flowers are typically solitary but clustered heavily in leaf axils, appearing as leafy racemes. In this cultivar, flowers are a light lilac-mauve to blue-mauve (see photo 1 and 2), about 1 cm long x 1 cm wide, and are borne prolifically in the spring with spot flowering all year round.

The fruit of Westringia are small mericarps or ‘nutlets’. A cluster of 4 is produced at the base of each flower after pollination. They are only 1 to 2 mm long. They may not be produced in this hybrid-cultivar.

In the garden

This is a popular cultivar and has been sold heavily through nurseries since its release in the 1980s. It is reported to be hardy and reliable in a range of situations.

Author’s notes:

I planted my first Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ plant about eight years ago in my garden, in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh. I now have more as they are quick growing, tough, long living, drought tolerant and frost hardy. On maturity, they form a medium dense shrub growing to 1.6 m tall by 1.6 m high.

They are a great landscaping plant because their greyish-green foliage contrasts so well with many other darker green leaf plants – I plant them in groups of three to maximise this contrast. Their pale lilac/blue flowers also add to this contrasting effect.


This is a hybrid-cultivar and so must be propagated by cuttings to retain ‘true-to-type’ form.

Other information

There are about 25 species of Westringia, endemic to Australia, occurring in all states and territories except the Northern Territory. NSW currently has 15 species. There are many cultivars.

Most Westringia spp. regenerate from seed after fire. They can possibly sucker from basal stem-root zones.

Westringia – named after Johan Peter Westring (1753-1833), an 18th century Swedish physician who administered to the King of Sweden and was a botanical authority on lichens.

‘Wynyabbie Gem’ – named after the nursery where it was created.

Gardening with Angus – Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/westringia-wynyabbie-gem-coastal-rosemary/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Australian Native Plants Society Australia – Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/westringia-wynyabbie-gem/

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.