Plant of the Month — May 2008
Leucopogon oxycedrus Sond.
Leucopogon oxycedrus is a very attractive, erect or spreading shrub of the Epacridaceae family. It grows in height from 0.1-1m and has flowers that range in colour from white to pink to red. This small plant ‘flies its colours’ for nine months of the year from March through to December, making it an important part of the bush palette.
It is found in the South-West Province of WA, on the coastal plains and in upland forest areas. It grows in a variety of soils, including sand and sandy clays and gravelly loams.
All epacrids are dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for the capture and recycling of nutrients. These are fungi which, through specialised roots produced by the plant, help it to take up nutrients, especially phosphorus and nitrogen. Many native plants are dependant on this type of symbiotic relationship and perhaps this is the reason why Leucopogon oxycedrus is difficult to propagate commercially. Specialist nurseries do not stock this species.
Photo: R.T. Wills
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