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 spectabilis is a small to medium shrub which may reach 2 metres high by a similar width but is apparently smaller in cultivation. The leaves are up to 70 mm long, linear or narrowly lance-shaped, hairy and sticky to the touch. The flowers are pink to purple, about 35 mm long and tubular in shape. They occur singly from the leaf axils in winter. The rounded fruits are about 10 mm in diameter.
E.spectabilis is deservedly named but has not been cultivated widely. Like other eremophilas, it grows well in dry climates on a variety of soils which must have good drainage. It has also been successfully cultivated in humid, temperate areas although experience in such areas is limited. The species prefers a sunny position.
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.spectabilis is reported to strike from cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth but the formation of roots may be slow.
Photo: Colin Jennings