Plant of the Month — October 2006
Grevillea wickhamii Meisn. — Wickham's Grevillea
This stunning large shrub or small tree, is a member of the family Proteaceae and is at its blooming best between April and October. Although at the end of it’s flowering period in October, it is still a worthy Plant of the Month because the fruits are turning from bright green to an intense glossy red, similar in colour to the red of the flowers. These brilliant, small fruits extend the colour palette of the plant for weeks before the fruits dehisce and shed their seeds.
Grevillea wickhamii enjoys the coastal and central areas of northern WA, growing on the deep red soils of sand and loam of the region. These soils also contain laterite, quartzite, sandstone or limestone, depending on their location.
As its name suggests, this Grevillea was named for its discoverer, John Clements Wickham (1798–1864), a Scottish naval officer who was second-in-command of the Beagle on which Charles Darwin was the naturalist. From 1837 to 1841 John Wickham commanded the Beagle while charting the north-western coasts of Australia. His later life in Australia was made difficult due to bureaucratic incompetence and so with very little money, he retired to Spain. It is fitting, therefore, that for all his efforts he should be remembered by a plant of such beauty.
Photo: I. & M. Greeve
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