Eremophila alternifolia

Distribution Map
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales on skeletal soils.
Common Name: Narrow-leaved emu bush.
Derivation of Name: Eremophila...from Greek, eremos, desert and phileo, to love, ie "desert loving", referring to the habitat of many of the species.
alternifolia... Having alternate leaves (ie. leaves on one side of a stem join the stem at nodes that are between the leaf nodes on the other side).
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Eremophila is a large genus of 214 species, all endemic to Australia. They are generally plants of inland and arid areas and are popular with Australian plant enthusiasts.

Eremophila alternifolia
Eremophila alternifolia
Photo: Colin Jennings

Eremophila alternifolia is a small to medium shrub which may reach 3 metres in height. The leaves are 10-50 mm long, usually linear and often sticky to the touch. The flowers are usually pink/red in colour but white and yellow forms are known. They are up to 25 mm long and tubular in shape. They mainly occur in spring but sporadic flowing may occur at other times. The rounded fruits are about 6 mm in diameter.

E.alternifolia is well known in cultivation and grows well in dry climates on a variety of soils which must have good drainage. It has also been successfully cultivated in humid, temperate areas. The species will tolerate at least moderate frosts and prefers full sun.

Propagation from seed of Eremophila species is unreliable. A number of treatment methods have been tried including sowing the ripe fruits, sowing of aged and washed fruits and splitting the fruits to extract the seeds prior to sowing. The latter involves splitting the fruits in halves and quarters but some seeds are inevitably damaged during the process.

E.alternifolia strikes readily from cuttings of hardened, current season's growth.


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