Plant of the Month — March 2007
Eremophila decipiens Ostenf. — Slender Fuchsia
Red, yellow and orange are the varieties of flower colour sported by this little Eremophila which is on show from February until December. It grows to a height of 1m and can be found over a wide area of Western Australia. Its range extends from the Murchison River south-east to Ravensthorpe, east to Laverton and continues along the Nullabor Plain into South Australia. Soil preferences for this shrub are varied and include red and yellow sands or clays over granite and laterite. It grows on undulating plains and screes, in claypans and around salt lakes. To survive in some of these soils it must not only be drought tolerant but also salt tolerant, making it an ideal plant to cope with a drying climate. It is a shrub which is able to grow in soils and situations that to many plants would be extremely unfavourable.
Eremophila decipiens derives its generic name from the Greek eremos ‘desert’ and phileo ‘to love’ hence ‘desert-loving’. Its species name of decipiens comes from Latin, meaning ‘deceiving’ and is often used botanically when a certain species might be mistaken for another.
This is a much-branched, viscid, or sticky, shrub. Look for it in wheatbelt areas and along the Nullabor Plain as it will be displaying its colours at a hot, dry time of year when not a great deal of other colour is on show.
Photo: A.P. Brown
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