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 longifolia is usually a large shrub or small tree which can reach 7-8 metres in height but is often much smaller. Leaves are linear to lance-shaped and up to 200 mm long, greyish green in colour and covered with fine hairs. The flowers occur in the leaf axils and are tubular in shape to about 25-30 mm long. The flowers are usually seen in late winter to early summer but plants may have some flowers at most times of the year. Flower colour varies from pink to brick red.
E.longifolia, while suited to dry climates, has also been successfully cultivated in warm, temperate areas. It should be grown in an open, sunny position with good drainage. The species is tolerant of at least moderate frost and, once established, tolerates extended dry periods.
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.longifolia can be grown from cuttings but these may not strike easily.
Photo: Brian Walters