Plant of the Month — January 2014
Lechenaultia hortii L.W.Sage
Lechenaultia hortii is related to L. biloba but is distinguished by fleshy rather than woody stems, a longer maximum sepal length, a corolla texture that is thick and artificial in appearance, adaxial lobes that are held differently and a flowering period that peaks in late spring or early summer rather than late winter or early spring. However, the new species is similar to L. biloba in that it seems to reproduce asexually from adventitious roots. New plants arise from shallow spreading roots that are attached to a vertical taproot.
The new species is a Priority Two conservation taxon, known from only three locations, all within a National Park. Potential threats include road works and weeds. This species has been collected in flower from November to January, although peak flowering seems to occur in very late spring and early summer. Currently known only from three locations west and southwest of York in the Jarrah Forest bioregion of Western Australia. The new species occurs on white-cream sandy soils under Eucalyptus wandoo open woodland.
L. hortii honours Fred Hort, DPaW Threatened Flora volunteer, recognising his tireless efforts in Western Australian flora conservation. The suggested common name is “Hort’s Leschenaultia”. Lechenaultia hortii was described by Leigh Sage in our journal Nuytsia, from which much of this text is transcribed. This paper includes a detailed taxonomic description of this species and two others in the genus, a discussion of affinities and a number of photographs.
Photo: J. Hort
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