Blancoa canescens is the only member of the genus Blancoa and it is closely related to the better-known kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) and to Conostylis. It has sometimes been regarded as a species within Conostylis but it is now generally accepted as being separate.
The plant is a perennial herb consisting of strap-like leaves arising from an underground rhizome. The leaves are about 250 mm long by about 50 mm wide and covered with greyish hairs. The red or pink, bell-shaped flowers are about 35 mm long and occur on stalks which emerge from the bases of the leaves. The flowers are yellow or orange on their inner surfaces. Flowering occurs in winter and early spring.
B.canescens is not well known in cultivation but has been grown in temperate areas with some success. It is not generally suited to tropical areas. The plant requires excellent drainage and a sunny position and is tolerant of moderate frosts.
Propagation can be carried out from seed but often germination is spasmodic. Propagation can also be carried out by division of the clumps but this is not as easy as with the related kangaroo paws. Divisions are best potted up and placed in a sheltered location such as in a glasshouse or cold frame until the plant re-establishes its root system.
Photo: Frank Hatfield