Eremophila psilocalyx

Distribution Map
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: Dry areas of south Western Australia.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name.
Derivation of Name: Eremophila...from Greek, eremos, desert and phileo, to love, ie "desert loving", referring to the habitat of many of the species.
psilocalyx....from Greek, psilos, bare or smooth, referring to the lack of hairs (glabrous) on the calyx.
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 psilocalyx
Eremophila psilocalyx
Photo: Brian Walters

Eremophila psilocalyx was formerly known as E.pachyphylla. The species is usually a small to medium shrub which may reach 3 metres in height by a similar spread but is often much smaller. Leaves are elliptical or lance-shaped to about 25 mm long and are glabrous (not hairy). The mauve to violet flowers occur in the leaf axils and are tubular in shape to about 20 mm long. After flowering, the petals fall but the purple calyces remain on the bush for some months thus adding to the attractive features of the plant. Flowering occurs mainly in spring and early summer.

E.psilocalyx is not widely grown except by enthusiasts but it deserves attention as a colourful garden plant, particularly for dry areas. It may also have potential for wider cultivation and would be worth trialling in temperate areas in well drained sunny positions. The species is tolerant of at least moderate frost and, once established, tolerates extended dry periods.

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.psilocalyx can be grown from cuttings but these may not strike easily.

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