Plant of the Month — July 2017
Bossiaea dentata (R.Br.) Benth.
Bossiaea dentata (Elegant Bossiaea) is an erect shrub that can grow to 3 m high, with stems often arching upwards and outwards, or it can be low and spreading, sometimes prostrate and wind-pruned in exposed coastal areas.
The large pendulous flowers, on show from July to November, make this a very distinctive species. The flower colour can vary markedly with age, often a green or greenish-yellow when young, the flowers can transform to a salmon pink and then to dull red or deep burgundy as they mature. The large pendulous flowers, together with the reduced size of the standard petal relative to the wing and keel petals, plus the elongated pink to burgundy wing and keel petals, all suggest that B. dentata is pollinated by birds.
The genus Bossiaea belongs to the family Fabaceae and B. dentata occurs along coastal regions from just west of Albany to east of Esperance and on some of the off-shore islands, especially in the Recherche Archipelago.
Text: C. Parker
Photo: R. Davis
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