Plant of the Month — November 2008
Coopernookia polygalacea (de Vriese) Carolin
While this compact, dense shrub, growing to 0.2–0.7 m high is a Western Australian species, its generic name is taken from the Coopernook State Forest of New South Wales where Coopernookia chisholmii is common. Its species name polygalacea comes from the Greek polys many and gala milk, as these plants were thought to enhance milk production.
It is a member of the Goodeniaceae family and its flowers can vary in colour from pink to blue to purple, providing colour to the bushland for three months from August to November.
Its growing preferences include sand, clay, gravelly soils as well as stony slopes and undulating plains. Its growing range on the south coast of Western Australia extends roughly from Albany to Esperance with a northern population south-west of Boorabbin.
Coopernookia polygalacea was originally named Dampiera polygalacea by Dutch botanist, Willem Henrik de Vriese (1806—1862). De Vriese was also a doctor of medicine and lecturer at the Rotterdam medical school 1831—1834 and professor of botany at the University of Amsterdam 1834—1845. Coopernookia was recognised as a distinct genus by Australian botanist, now retired, Roger Charles Carolin (1929–).
Photo: E. Wajon
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