Pieris formosa var. forrestii

Scientific name: Pieris formosa var. forrestii

Common name: Re-Leaf Pearl Bush

Family: Ericaceae


Pieris formosa   


Pieris formosa var. forrestii can be found in the Rhododendron Species garden at the back of the Barbecue Area. Follow the road from the right of the main entrance to the Visitor Centre passing Waratahs in full bloom on your left. Further investigation of the Rhododendron Sprecies garden will reveal Mollis Azaleas, rhododendrons and other Pieris in flower.

Why the name ‘formosa’ and why the ‘variety forrestii’? The word ‘formosa’ in plant terminology indicates that this particular plant is ‘handsome or beautiful’. The words ‘var. or variety forrestii’ indicate that this form of Pieris formosa was named in honour of George Forrest (1873-1932), a well-known Scottish plant collector. George Forrest introduced this variety to cultivation in about 1910 from one of his many plant collecting expeditions into western China. Further information about George Forrest, and many other well known plant collectors, can be found along the Plant Explorers Walk situated on the south slope, above the entrance drive, here at Mount Tomah.

Certainly the Red-Leaf Pearl Flower (Pieris formosa var. forrestii) is a very decorative evergreen shrub that deserves a place in many gardens. What are the conditions required for growing and maintaining Pieris? A moisture retentive but well-drained soil that is lime-free and has humus incorporated. Dappled shade with protection from strong winds and heavy frost is preferred. Frosts, in particular late frosts, will damage new growth. An organic layer of mulch around plants will help to maintain soil moisture.