General Description:

Ceratopetalum is a small genus of 5 species, all occurring in Australia and New Guinea. C.gummiferum is the best known species and is widely cultivated both in Australia and overseas.

NSW Christmas bush is generally a large shrub or small tree which may reach 10 metres in its natural habit but is usually much smaller in cultivation where it rarely exceeds 5 metres. The foliage of the plant is very attractive. The leaves are up to 70mm long and are divided into three leaflets which are finely serrated. The new growth is often pink or bronze coloured.

The main attraction of the plant is the massed display of the red sepals of the developing seed capsules which are commonly mistaken to be flowers. These are at their peak in early to mid summer, usually at Christmas in Australia. The true flowers are white in colour and are seen in late spring, although they are not particularly conspicuous.

The sepals and foliage are widely used for cut flowers and the plant is farmed commercially for that purpose.

In cultivation the plant must have a well drained but moist position in sun or semi shade. Annual feeding with a slow release fertiliser is beneficial.

C.gummiferum can be propagated by seed or cuttings. However, as the intensity of the red coloration can vary from very pale to deep red in seedling-grown plants, propagation from cuttings is preferred.

 

Plant profile image

The white flowers of Ceratopetalum gummiferum appear in October…..
Photo: Brian Walters

Plant profile image

….followed by the red sepals at around Christmas time.
Photo: Brian Walters

Plant profile image

A mature NSW Christmas Bush in full display
Photo: Brian Walters

 

Other Native Plant Profiles

Search Tips

By default the search engine tries to locate pages which have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query. If that fails, it then tries to locate pages which contain any words in your search query. If that happens a short message is displayed at the top of the search results indicating this has been done. In addition, there are several ways to modify the default search behavior.  Note, searches are case insensitive.

Phrase Search
The search engine supports three types of phrase search.

  • To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase. Example: "banksia integrifolia"
  • To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [around the words]. Example: [banksia integrifolia]
  • To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { around the words }. Example: {banksia integrifolia}

+ and - qualifiers
If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page. If you prepend a word with - that word is required to not be on the page. Example: +always -never

* Wildcard
If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that query word will match. Example: gift*

? Wildcard
If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position. Example: b?g

Boolean Search
You can use the following boolean operators in your search: AND, OR, NOT. These operators MUST be in capital letters. Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us)

All of these techniques can be combined: +alway* -ne??r*

Billardiera heterophylla

View Plant Profile

Acacia longifolia

View Plant Profile

Acacia baileyana

View Plant Profile

Acacia podalyriifolia

View Plant Profile

Acacia pycnantha

View Plant Profile

Eucalyptus globulus

View Plant Profile

Leptospermum laevigatum

View Plant Profile

Melaleuca quinquenervia

View Plant Profile

Pittosporum undulatum

View Plant Profile

Schefflera actinophylla

View Plant Profile

Syzygium paniculatum (variegated form)

View Plant Profile

 

Chrysanthemoides monilifera
var. monilifera

Senecio madagascariensis

Opuntia stricta