Eremophila racemosa

Distribution Map
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: Eucalypt woodland in a restricted area in south Western Australia.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name other than the generic "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.
racemosa....from latin, racemus, a bunch of grapes, giving rise to the term "racemose" used where the terminal flowers of a group are the last to develop.
Conservation Status: Not currently listed as threatened under the EPBC Act*. However, regarded as vulnerable over the long term. Classified as 2V under the ROTAP * system.

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 racemosa
Eremophila racemosa
Photo: Brian Walters

Eremophila racemosa is a species with a very restricted natural occurrence north of Ravensthorpe in south Western Australia. Its survival is regarded as being seriously threatened due to land clearance for agriculture although proliferation of the species after bushfires has been reported. The species is an erect shrub usually less than one metre in height with oblong leaves to about 50 mm long. Flowers occur in the leaf axils and are tubular in shape to about 15 mm long. Flower colour is usually reddish purple although a yellow form is known. Flowering occurs mainly in spring but some flowers may also be seen at other times. Fruits consist of four chambers each containing a single seed.

Despite its restricted natural occurrence, E.racemosa is reasonably well known in cultivation both in Australia and overseas (particularly California). It is best suited to dry climates and may be short lived in more humid areas. The species requires well drained soils in full sun and, once established, the plant tolerates extended dry periods. It is also tolerant of at least moderate frost.

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

* EPBC Act = Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
  ROTAP = Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (Briggs and Leigh, 1988)
  For further information refer the Australian Plants at Risk page

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