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When European settlers came to Australia some hundreds of years ago, one of the most striking visual sights they discovered was the alien Australian flora that this country is known for. In fact, many European artists wanting to capture the Australian landscape were so unfamiliar with the look, colours and flora, (finding it so lacking in the lush greenery they were accustomed to), that they sporadically placed European trees in their paintings to accommodate for this deficiency.
These days we’ve all come to love and appreciate the diverse native flora that saturates this unique landscape. Wonderfully distinctive, these unique beauties have properties and preferences that perfectly suit the hot Australian climate. Beautiful in the garden or in a vase, these stunning floras are made even more beautiful because they’re all ours.
With around 170 species of banksia, the variety is endless! Easily distinguishable by their flowery ‘spikes’ and conical shapes, these Australian wildflowers are found in sclerophyll forests, rainforests, shrub lands and other arid landscapes, although not in Australian deserts. Filled with nectar, banksia play a critical role in our ecosystem as they are an important source of food to birds, bats, rats, possums, stingless bees and multitudes of invertebrates.
Commonly known as gum trees, Eucalyptus trees are a fundamental part of the Australian bush identity. Recognised in popular child’s song ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’, eucalypts are also an essential part of Australian culture. The sight and smell of the gum tree are undeniably distinguished. With long, slender green leaves, a crisp fresh scent and fluffy white, cream, yellow, pink or red stamens, this beautiful iconic tree has made a name for itself around the world. A source of food to native koalas, used in cleaning products and utilised for its essential oils, eucalyptus trees are an endlessly important piece of Australian flora.
The flowers of the bottlebrush tree are another iconic sight in native Australian landscapes. These vibrant red ‘bottle brush’ shaped blooms grow on broad, bushy trees all around Australia, preferring climates that meet dry and sunny criterion. There are more than 40 species of bottlebrush that can be found around Australia, each featuring the distinctive ‘bottlebrush’ shape but displaying in colours that range from yellow and white to bright red, pink and orange. While most commonly found in east and south-east Australia, two species of this iconic native flora can also been found in south-west Australia.
Golden wattle is the national flower of Australia and also has its own day of celebration. September 1st recognises national Wattle Day and on this day, Australians are encouraged to wear a sprig of wattle and greet each other with ‘Happy Wattle Day’ as they enjoy picnics, lunches, morning/afternoon teas, BBQs or dinners with family and friends. Designate the national floral emblem of Australia in 1988, this flower is particularly representative of Australia as, when in flower, golden wattle displays the national colours, green and gold. A symbol of unity, golden wattle grows prosperously all across Australia.