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 duttonii is a large shrub to small tree reaching about 4 metres high by a similar width. The leaves are up to 45 mm long, linear to narrowly lance-shaped or elliptical and sticky to the touch. The flowers are red on the upper surface, gradually fading to a yellowish green underneath with large yellow-green sepals subtending the flowers. The flowers are about 35 mm long and tubular in shape. They mainly occur from winter through to mid summer. The rounded fruits are about 10 mm in diameter.
E.duttonii is not widely cultivated. It is reported to be slow growing and is best suited to dry climates on a variety of soils which must have good drainage. The species will tolerate at least moderate frosts and prefers full sun.
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.duttonii has proven to be difficult to strike from cuttings and grafting onto a Myoporum rootstock is the preferred method of propagation.
Photo: Colin Jennings