Plant of the Month — October 2005
Verticordia spicata F.Muell. subsp. spicata
Verticordias are generally known as “Feather Flowers” because of the feather-like appearance of their sepals. They are members of a very large and ancient family, the Myrtaceae, and grow on Gondwanan, nutrient-deficient soils which produce great biodiversity. These soils have produced many singularly beautiful species, whose habits range from rigid to shrubby to pendulous, with a height variation from tiny shrubs of 0.2m to small trees of 3.5m. Verticordias are largely endemic to Western Australia, with three populations in the Northern Territory.
Verticordia spicata subsp. spicata is found in the northern areas of the Geraldton Sandplains, including Kalbarri National Park. It favours deep yellow or white to grey sand with loam and clay.
Verticordia spicata subsp. spicata is distinguished from other similar species of the genus by its small stem-clasping leaves which have prominent oil glands and narrow translucent margins (leaf edges).
While this species does not grow on the Swan Coastal Plain, many other equally beautiful Verticordias do. There are excellent recent books on the genus that advise the types of species and where each prefers to grow. General nurseries and specialist local native plant nurseries stock some excellent varieties that no garden should lack.
Photo: E.A. George
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