Conostylis is a genus of 40 or more species and is closely related to the better-known kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos sp). They are perennial herbs consisting of strap-like leaves sometimes arising from underground rhizomes. Flowers usually occur in clusters on stalks which emerge from the bases of the leaves. All species occur naturally only in the southern areas of Western Australia.
Conostylis bealiana is different to most of the other members of the genus as its flowers occur singly, rather than in clusters. It has a prostrate, tufted habit of growth forming small grass-like clumps about 0.3 metres in diameter. The leaves are up to 150 mm long by about 20 mm wide with hairy margins. The single flowers are bright yellow and tubular in shape to about 40 mm long. Flowering occurs in late winter to spring.
Conostylis bealiana is reasonably well known in cultivation but is best suited to areas with a dry summer climate. It tends to be unreliable in tropical climates and in other areas with a humid summer. It requires excellent drainage and a sunny position and is tolerant of moderate frosts. The species is an attractive subject for cultivation in containers.
Propagation can be carried out from seed but often germination is spasmodic. Propagation can also be carried out by division of the clumps but divisions can be difficult to obtain without damaging the parent plant and may be very slow to form roots, if at all. 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: Brian Walters