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31 Aug 2022

Discover the flowers and fragrance of Spring in the Garden this September


Visit our Spring Walk to enjoy the floral display and nearby find Australian plants providing a feast for native bees. 

Spiketail - Stachyurus praecox - Stachyuraceae family

Stachyurus is a genus of eight species and the only genus in the family Stachyuraceae ranging from Japan into the Himalayas. It is endemic to the warm temperate region of Japan where it is a pioneer species. A deciduous shrub, it has tiny yellow bell-shaped flowers that are borne on long racemes. Researchers have shown that in their native habitat, shrubs are either hermaphrodite or female. Hermaphrodite flowers only produce pollen so act as if they are male, whilst only the female shrubs produce fruit.

Rough-shelled Bush Nut - Macadamia tetraphylla - Proteaceae family 

All four species of Macadamia are endemic to Australia and this is one of two species that produce the edible macadamia nut. This tree is covered in small pink flowers held in long racemes creating a waterfall of colour and fragrance. As well as delighting visitors these small nectar rich flowers attract European and Australian bees. The native stingless bee, Tetragonula carbonaria is an important pollinator of Macadamias, essential if the trees are to produce their delicious oil rich seeds.

Gulgadya (Gadigal) Grass Tree - Xanthorrhoea species - Asphodelaceae family 

Endemic to all states and territories in Australia, there are 28 species of Grass Trees. They are generally slow-growing and long-lived. The trunk, or caudex is made from old leaf bases that develop beneath the crown and protect the growing tip from fire. Flowers form on a spear-like spike that can be up to 4 metres long. The individual small white flowers are spirally arranged and rich in nectar, making them popular with birds and insects. In many species flowering is stimulated by fire.

Sydney Rock Orchid - Dendrobium speciosum - Orchidaceae

First described in 1804 from a specimen collected in Port Jackson, the Sydney Rock Orchid is found along the east coast of Australia from Victoria to Cairns. It is a highly variable species and grows as a lithophyte (on rocks) or epiphyte (on trees). It has spreading roots and cylindrical peusdobulbs, tapering at the top from which 2 to 5 thick leaves appear. Flowers, usually white or creamy yellow, occur in clusters on long stems. Each stem can carry over a hundred fragrant flowers, making them spectacular when in full bloom.

Wisteria - Wisteria varieties - Fabaceae family

Wisteria is a genus containing four species of deciduous woody vines native to Asia and North America. The Chinese (W. sinensis) and Japanese (W. floribunda) species are the most popular for their large drooping racemes of fragrant purple to white flowers that appear in spring before the leaves. They climb by twining around a tree or support. The Japanese species twines clockwise while the Chinese and American species (W. frutescens) twine anticlockwise.

Rhododendron veitchianum - Ericaceae family 

Native to the mountain forests of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos where it grows as a small shrub to about 2 metres often as an epiphyte. It has large trumpet-like white flowers that often have a yellow blotch in the throat and emit a pleasant gentle fragrance. It grows well in Sydney’s humid and warm climate and the leaves have scales on the under surface which makes the plant more resistant to sap sucking bugs such as lace bugs and thrips.

Myriocarpa longipes - Urticaceae family 

This species is native to tropical America where is grows as an understorey plant at the margins of humid tropical forests or close to water courses from sea level to 2000 metres. It grows as a shrub or small tree with large dark green leaves on long petioles (stalks) with a slightly hairy underside. Plants are usually dioecious, that is an individual plant produces either male flowers or female flowers. Flowers are held on a threadlike inflorescence that hangs below the leaves. The inflorescence of female plants are longer.

Princess Tree - Paulownia tomentosa - Paulowniaceae family

A beautiful deciduous tree native to China, it has large purple flowers in spring that are said to look similar to foxglove flowers. In fact, it was considered part of the foxglove family until DNA analysis put it into a separate family (Paulowniaceae). It is a fast-growing tree that can reach 15m, but as it grows so fast, the roots are often weak and the trees become unstable. Paulownia produces an abundance of light weight seed which was used as packaging material to export porcelain from China in the nineteenth century.

Learn more

Why not join a Guided Walk of the Garden with one of our knowledgeable Volunteer Guides, daily at 10:30 am and Saturday and Sunday 2 pm. Find out more here

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