Lechenaultia formosa

Distribution Map
Family: Goodeniaceae
Distribution: South Western Australia on sandy clay and granite soils.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name
Derivation of Name: Lechenaultia...after the naturalist Leschenault de la Tour.
formosa...From Latin, formosus, beautiful, referring to the overall appearance of the plant.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Lechenaultia is a genus of about 30 species of small, shrubby or herbaceous plants. Most are found in Western Australia. Lechenaultia biloba, the blue lechenaultia, is the best known member of the genus and is commonly cultivated in many areas of Australia.

Lechenaultia formosa   Lechenaultia formosa
The orange and red-flowered forms of Lechenaultia formosa
make attractive subjects for hanging baskets

Photos: Brian Walters

Lechenaultia formosa is a very spectacular small shrub which is well known in cultivation. In suitable climates it is an ideal rockery plant, tolerating exposed, hot, sunny positions despite its delicate appearance. There are many forms, in a range of colours and growth habits. Like the blue lechenaultia, it is fairly short lived - about six years in ideal conditions would be about average - but it is easily propagated.

The species is usually 300mm or less in height by a similar width but a number of forms with a prostrate habit of growth are in cultivation. The branches are twiggy with linear, narrow leaves to around 10nmm.

Flowers of L.formosa are five-petalled and at about 12-15 mm long. The colour may be red, pink, orange or yellow or combinations of red and yellow. The orange flowered form with a suckering, upright habit of growth is generally regarded as the hardiest form for cultivation.

Lechenaultia formosa
An orange and yellow-flowered form of Lechenaultia formosa
Photo: Brian Walters

As a native of south Western Australia, L.formosa prefers climates with dry summers. It can be grown in sub-tropical areas but is probably best grown in a container in those areas.

Propagation is difficult from seed but cuttings strike very easily. This means that the keen plant propagator can ensure that replacement plants are always available when older ones die.

Note: The spelling of Lechenaultia without an "s" (as might be expected from the name "Leschenault") is a result of an error when the genus was first described.

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