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 psilocalyx was formerly known as E.pachyphylla. The species is usually a small to medium shrub which may reach 3 metres in height by a similar spread but is often much smaller. Leaves are elliptical or lance-shaped to about 25 mm long and are glabrous (not hairy). The mauve to violet flowers occur in the leaf axils and are tubular in shape to about 20 mm long. After flowering, the petals fall but the purple calyces remain on the bush for some months thus adding to the attractive features of the plant. Flowering occurs mainly in spring and early summer.
E.psilocalyx is not widely grown except by enthusiasts but it deserves attention as a colourful garden plant, particularly for dry areas. It may also have potential for wider cultivation and would be worth trialling in temperate areas in well drained sunny positions. 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.psilocalyx can be grown from cuttings but these may not strike easily.
Photo: Brian Walters
Images of all Eremophila species, hybrids and cultivars can be seen in the Eremophila Study Group’s Eremophila Image Database