Hypocalymma robustum

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Open forest and woodland in the south-west of Western Australia.
Common Name: Swan River myrtle.
Derivation of Name: Hypocalymma... From Greek hypo, under and calymma, a veil, referring to features of the calyx of the flower.
robustum... From Latin robustus, hard or robust, referring to the growth habit of the species.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Hypocalymma is a small genus of about 29 species, all of which occur naturally only in south Western Australia. H.angustifolium and H.cordifolium are the best known members of the genus and are widely cultivated. H.robustum is also reasonably well known but is less adaptable to cultivation so not seen as often. It is a small, spreading shrub from 1 to 1.5 metres high with linear-shaped leaves about 30 mm long. In late winter and spring the colourful pink to mauve flowers appear in clusters along the stems. Individually the flowers are about 10 mm in diameter and produce an outstanding display.

Hypocalymma robustum
Hypocalymma robustum
Photo: Tony Cavanagh

This species is a very desirable plant for cultivation because of its spectacular flowering display and compact size. It has been successfully cultivated in Mediterranean-type climates (dry summer, wet winter) but is not reliable in summer rainfall areas. The plant requires well drained conditions in full sun or dappled shade and it is tolerant of at least moderate frost. Annual pruning will help maintain a dense, bushy growth habit.

Propagation can be carried out from seed and, based on experience with the related H.angustifolium, improved germination may be achieved using smoked water. Propagation from cuttings is the preferred method and cuttings strike readily from hardened, current season's growth. H.robustum would be a good candidate for grafting experiments possibly using Darwinia species as rootstock.

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