Plant of the Month — December 2009
Lechenaultia tubiflora R.Br. — Heath Leschenaultia
Displays of brilliant red, white, cream in various combinations set against a background of green leaves, makes Lechenaultia tubiflora a quintessential Christmas plant. A member of the Goodeniaceae, it is a small prostrate cushion-like shrub to 0.7m high. It can be found blooming from August to January in the South West region of Western Australia in areas of sandheaths from Albany to Israelite Bay and inland to Tammin, with an outlier near Moora; the greatest concentration of distribution being on the south coast where it makes a dramatic contrast against white sandplain soils.
Lechenaultia tubiflora was first described in 1810 by Robert Brown (1773-1858) noted botanist and explorer of Australia. The genus Lechenaultia was also named by Brown, in honour of Jean-Baptiste Louis Claud Theodore Leschenault de la Tour (1773-1826), naturalist on Baudin’s expedition 1800-04. Leschenault de la Tour collected at Cape Naturaliste, the Swan River and Shark Bay in 1801 and 1803. The name of the genus is spelt differently because Robert Brown, in his Prodromus, mis-spelt Leschenault’s name. The epithet tubiflora comes from the Latin tubis tube, plus flos, floris flower.
Photo: M. Seale
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