Crowea exalata

Distribution Map
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: Open forests and woodlands of Victoria and New South Wales.
Common Name: Small crowea.
Derivation of Name: Crowea....After James Crowe, 18th and 19th century surgeon and botanist.
exalata....without wings, referring to the lack of ridges on the stems - this is not a definitive characteristic.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Crowea is a small genus of three species which is closely related to Eriostemon and Philotheca. All species have been cultivated fairly widely.

Crowea exalata

Crowea exalata - White form
The pink and white forms of Crowea exalata
Photos: Brian Walters

Crowea exalata is a small, variable plant ranging from almost prostrate forms to shrubs up to a metre or more high. It has narrow leaves from 15 to 50 mm long which are dotted with oil glands. Flowers are 5-petalled and usually range from pale to mid pink in colour although white forms are known. The flowers are up to 25 mm diameter and appear in late summer through to mid winter.

In cultivation, C.exalata prefers a well drained position in sun or semi shade. It prefers moist soils but will tolerate extended dry periods once established. Most forms are hardy in temperate to sub-tropical climates but shrubby forms seem to be more adaptable that the low, compact forms. The species is tolerant of at least moderate frosts and is usually pest free but can sometimes be effected by scale and sooty mould.

A very popular cultivar known as "Festival" is believed to be a hybrid between C.exalata and C.saligna but it seems to have greater affinity with C.exalata. This cultivar has deep pink flowers.

Crowea 'Festival'
Crowea 'Festival'
Photo: Brian Walters

In common with most members of the Rutaceae, propagation of C.exalata from seed is difficult although garden plants will sometimes produce chance seedlings of their own accord. Cuttings usually strike readily from current season's growth. Crowea 'Festival' must be propagatede by cuttings as seed will not come true to type.

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