Brunonia australis

Distribution Map
Family: Goodeniaceae
Distribution: Widespread in a range of habitats (principally open forest, woodland and sand dunes) in all Australian states and territories.
Common Name: Blue pincushion.
Derivation of Name: Brunonia; After Robert Brown (1773-1858), often regarded as the greatest British botanist of the 19th century who explored widely in Australia.
australis; from Latin, australis, southern, referring to the geographical distribution of the species.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Brunonia australis   
The flowers of Brunonia australis occur in clusters on long stems.  Photo: Sue Fiskin   

Brunonia is a monotypic genus (ie. only a single species) which previously was classified in the family Brunoniaceae but is now regarded as being part of the family Goodeniaceae. It is therefore related to such well known genera as Lechenaultia, Goodenia and Scaevola.

As would be expected from its widespread distribution, Brunonia australis is rather variable in habit. It is a perennial herb, with a cluster of elliptical leaves at the base. The leaves are about 10 cm long. The flowers occur on 50 cm high stems arising from the basal leaves of the plant. While the individual flowers are small they occur in hemispherical clusters of 50 or more, each cluster being about 30 mm in diameter. The flower colour is mid to deep blue and flowers are usually seen in spring but may also occur sporadically, extending through to autumn.

This is a very ornamental species that can be grown in most well drained soils in full sun or partial shade. Unfortunately, establishment can be difficult and it is not unusual for plants to die out after a year or two. However, seed propagation is not difficult and the plants can be treated as annuals.

Seed requires no particular pre-treatment prior to sowing and propagation can also be carried out by division of established plants.

Brunonia australis
Brunonia australis
Photo: Ivan Margitta

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