Balaustion is a monotypic genus comprising the single species, Balaustion pulcherrimum. A formerly included species, Balaustion microphyllum, is now classified as Cheyniana microphylla. However, it seems likely that Balaustion may be expanded to 18 species in the future with the transfer of three named species and several unnamed species of Baeckea to Balaustion (see Rye, B.L. (7 July 2022), An expanded circumscription and revision of the Western Australian genus Balaustion (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae: Hysterobaeckeinae). Nuytsia 33: 186). This expansion of the genus has been accepted by the Western Australian herbarium but has not as yet been taken up in the Australian Plant Census.
Balaustion pulcherrimum is a prostrate shrub to about 30 cm high and 150 cm wide with narrow leaves about 10 mm long. The unusual urn-shaped flowers are about 25 mm long, bright orange-red in colour and arise from the leaf axils from late winter to summer.
This is a particularly spectacular plant but is not seen often in cultivation. It would be best suited to semi arid climates in a sunny and well drained location. It is tolerant of at least moderate frost. Plants would be ideally suited to growing in containers.
Propagation is best carried out from cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth. Plants can be propagated from seed but this is not readily available.
Photo: John Wrigley – Australian National Botanic Gardens