Plant of the Month — January 2007
Patersonia occidentalis R.Br. — Purple Flag
Patersonia occidentalis is a rhizomatous, tufted perennial herb, 0.25–0.7m high with blue, violet or purple flowers from August to February. It grows on sandy, gravelly or clay soils in winter-wet areas, on dunes and around granite outcrops. The range of Patersonia occidentalis in Western Australia extends from Kalbarri in the north to east of Esperance on the southern coast and includes a general sweep of the south-western corner of the State.
This small herb was named for William Paterson (1755–1810), British naturalist, traveller and administrator, who came to Australia in 1791 and who collected for the famous botanist, Sir Joseph Banks. William Paterson subsequently became Lieut. Governor of New South Wales from 1800–1810.
For landscaping small, very small or large areas, this little plant is ideal as it can be used en masse as a border or simply placed thoughout a rockery for effect. It is also ideal for pots and tubs and perfect to add to the surrounds of a pond or swimming pool. Patersonia occidentalis is available from most local nurseries and provides colour and ‘cool’ to landscapes when temperatures are testing and not many plants are in bloom. It is a small plant with big potential, as one clump can be divided into several, making it a wonderful investment for a garden.
Photo: G. Byrne
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