Plant of the Month — December 2003
Nuytsia floribunda (Labill.) G.Don — Christmas Tree
Nuytsia truly earns its association with Christmas in Western Australia, not only because it flowers so prominently throughout early summertime, but also as it is the largest member of the mistletoe family, worldwide.
Predominantly a tree growing to 10 m high, its suckering roots prey on the root systems of nearby plants. Christmas Trees grow in sandy soils associated with underlying granite, laterite and limestone, from Kalbarri to Esperance.
The seeds are light, dry and winged, and float away from the parent tree. Seedlings develop into low, bushy shrubs with numerous stems rising from the base, one of which produces a trunk that carries the flowers. The suckers are edible with a sweet centre, forming part of the bush diet of the Nyoongar people.
Photo: A. Spooner
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