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 freelingii is a small to medium shrub up to about 1.5 – 2 metres high by a similar width. The leaves are greyish-green, hairy and 25-85 mm long by 5-12 mm wide. They are lanceolate in shape and sticky to the touch. The flowers are usually lilac to white in colour, up to 30 mm long and tubular in shape. They mainly occur in late winter to spring but sporadic flowing may occur at other times. The rounded fruits are up to 9 mm long x about 4 mm wide.
E.freelingii is not widely grown but is successful in dry climates on a variety of soils, including alkaline types. It is less successful in humid areas where fungus can cause damage to the foliage and general deterioration of the plant. It requires good drainage and will tolerate at least moderate frosts. A sunny position is preferred and the plant responds well to pruning to maintain a bushy shape.
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.freelingii can be propagated from cuttings but these may be slow to strike.
Photo: Brian Walters
Images of all Eremophila species, hybrids and cultivars can be seen in the Eremophila Study Group’s Eremophila Image Database