Prostanthera aspalathoides

Distribution Map
Family: Lamiaceae
Distribution: Semi arid areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Common Name: Scarlet mint bush
Derivation of Name: Prostanthera...from Greek prostheke; an appendix and anthera; an anther, referring to the appendage on the stamens
aspalathoides...similar to the genus Aspalathus
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Prostanthera is a genus of about 90 species which occur only in Australia. They are known generally as "mint bushes" because of the aromatic foliage of many species. As a member of the Lamiaceae, Prostanthera is related to a number of culinary herbs such as mint, thyme, oregano and sage.

Prostanthera aspalathoides

Prostanthera aspalathoides - yellow
Red and yellow forms of Prostanthera aspalathoides
Photos: Brian Walters

Prostanthera aspalathoides is a small shrub up to 0.5 metres high by a similar spread. The leaves are linear to about 50-75 mm long and highly aromatic. The tubular flowers occur in spring and are usually deep red in colour but yellow and white coloured forms are also known. The flowers are very conspicuous making a very spectacular display.

P.aspalathoides is best suited to dry climates and can be short lived in areas with humid summers. It prefers a well drained position and will tolerate full sun as well as partial shade. Prostantheras respond to well to annual fertilising after flowering and are not as sensitive as some other Australian plants to phosphorus.

Propagation is easy from cuttings but seed can be slow to germinate. It can also be grafted using one of hardier mint bushes such as P.nivea as rootstock. Unlike most other prostantheras which can be grafted onto the related (and extremely hardy) Westringia fruticosa, P.aspalathoides is not compatible with that species.


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