Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Telopea speciosissima cultivars

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - October

Common name waratah
Scientific name Telopea speciosissima
Family  Proteaceae

Genus: From Greek, telopos, meaning 'seen from afar' a reference to the conspicuous flowers.

Species: From Latin speciosus, showy and issimus, most.

Distribution From the Watagan Mountains to Ulladulla, New South Wales.
Native habitat Coast and mountains, growing most often in sandy soils in dry eucalypt forest.

An upright , multi-stemmed shrub to about 3 metres but often shorter.

Flowering/fruiting Flowers mid spring to early summer.

Location in Garden

You can see waratahs in the Banksia Garden and in Bed 29 in the Connections Garden.


The colourful waratah is the floral emblem of New South Wales.  It is now widely grown by the horticultural industry and many cultivars have been developed. They range in colour from white, through pale rose to deep scarlet.

It was one of the first Australian plants to be collected for cultivation in Europe as it was common in the sandstone country around the first European settlement at Port Jackson.

It provides ample nectar which is a 'reward' for bird pollinators and it is said that Aborigines also used to eat nectar from the flowers.



Telopea speciosissima1

Telopea speciosissima2