Eremophila is a large genus of 214 species, all endemic to Australia. They are generally plants of inland and arid areas and are popular with Australian plant enthusiasts.
Eremophila bowmanii is a small shrub with silvery-grey, hairy foliage, usually up to 1 metre high but occasionally taller. The leaves are linear to lance-shaped and 10-50 mm long. The blue to mauve tubular-shaped flowers are spotted internally and are about 25 mm long. They occur from winter to spring but can sometimes be seen at other times. The fruits are oval-shaped and about 7 mm long. Two botanical varieties are recognised with var.latifolia differing from var.bowmanii in having leaves without revolute margins.
E.bowmanii is popular in cultivation and grows well in dry climates on a variety of soils which must have good drainage. It will grow in more humid, temperate areas but, like other species with hairy foliage can be subject to fungal diseases. The species should be grown in full sun to minimize fungal problems. It is tolerent of at least moderate frost.
Propagation from seed of Eremophila species is unreliable. A number of treatment methods have been tried including sowing the ripe fruits, sowing of aged and washed fruits and splitting the fruits to extract the seeds prior to sowing. The latter involves splitting the fruits in halves and quarters but some seeds are inevitably damaged during the process.
E.bowmanii strikes reasonably well from cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth. However, the hairy foliage may rot under misting.
Photo: Brian Walters