Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Alloxylon pinnatum

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah - January

Common name Dorrigo waratah, tree waratah, also Dorrigo oak, red silky oak, pink silky oak, red oak, Queensland waratah, and the waratah oak
Scientific name Alloxylon pinnatum (Maiden & E. Betche) P.H. Weston & Crisp
Family  Proteaceae

Genus: Alloxylon - from the Greek allo (other) and xylon (wood) referring to the wood anatomy of the genus, which is markedly different from that of other Proteaceae

Species: pinnatum - from the Latin pinnatus (pinnate) referring to the leaves which are mostly divided, occasionally simple

Distribution This 'waratah' is an uncommon species that is found in the Dorrigo area of New South Wales and the McPherson Range on both sides of the NSW/Queensland border
Native habitat Warm-temperate rainforest between 700 and 1250 m altitude, on escarpment ranges with fertile, acid volcanic soils
Description Tree to 25 metres in height (usually 6 to 10 metres in cultivation) with spectacular, pinkish red flowers, which are pollinated by honeyeaters
Flowering/fruiting Flowers November to January. Fruit ripens February to June, when 13-17 months old.


The Proteaceae Woodland, Beds 107a & b, one level down into the rock garden below the Visitor Centre viewing deck and to the east. Also, the entrance to the Gondwana Walk near the Conifer Cultivar beds


A generous covering of rich pink blossoms draws attention to this warm-temperate rainforest dweller.

These trees are usually grown from seed. The plants will tolerate short cold periods and require a consistent water supply, shelter from strong winds and well-drained, fertile soil.

The largest of our four Dorrigo waratahs in the Proteaceae Woodland at Mount Tomah was planted in 1989 and has flowered well since 1999. The three younger specimens and those near the upper entrance to the Gondwana Forest also flower well.

Proteaceae is an ancient Gondwanan family, and at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah we seek to interpret, though plants, the evolutionary links between the countries which once comprised the supercontinent of Gondwana.

This is an opportunity to see a rare and very handsome native member of that family which is not often found in cultivation.