Calytrix consists of about 75 species, all endemic to Australia with the greatest concentration being in the south-west corner. Most are small to medium shrubs with star-like flowers ranging in colour from white through, yellow, pink and purple to red.
Calytrix oldfieldii is a small shrub from 0.5 to about 1 metre high. The small leaves are oblong in shape and about 2-3 mm long. The star-shaped flowers are about 10 mm in diameter and may be pink, purple, violet or reddish. In common with most Calytrix species, a feature of the flowers is the “awns” or fine hairs which extend from the calyx lobes beyond the petals. Flowering occurs in late winter and spring.
Apart from C.tetragona (fringe myrtle), Calytrix has not received widespread cultivation. C.oldfieldii should be reliable in well drained positions in temperate climates which have a fairly dry summer, preferably in a semi shaded position. Cultivation in more humid climates may be possible but plants will probably not be reliable or long lived in those areas.
Propagation is best from cuttings as seed can be difficult to germinate. Experimentation into the use of grafting has been carried out with Calytrix species using the closely related genus Darwinia as root stock. Some success has been reported but it is not known whether grafting of C.oldfieldii has been attempted.
For further information on cultivation and propagation of Calytrix, see the article on growing Calytrix on the Geraldton Wax and Relatives page.
Photo: Geoff Clarke