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 ovata is a small shrub about 0.5 metres high by 1 metre wide. The blue-green leaves are up to 35 mm long, oval or elliptical in shape and may be either hairy or glabrous. The flowers are lilac in colour, about 30 mm long and tubular in shape. They mainly occur from winter through to spring but spasmodic flowering can occur at other times. The rounded fruits are about 7 mm in diameter.
E.ovata is not widely cultivated. As with most eremophilas, it is best suited to dry climates in areas with well drained soils. Limited experience in more humid, temperate areas indicates that it has some potential. The species prefers a situation in full sun and it is tolerent of at least moderate frost. It is reported to sucker in some areas (eg. Alice Springs).
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.ovata is reported to strike slowly from cuttings. Grafting onto a Myoporum rootstock may be preferred.
Photo: Hans Griesser