Goodenia is a genus of about 200 species, almost all of which are confined to Australia although a few occur in the islands to the north. The genus gives its name to the Goodeniaceae family which includes several other well known genera including Lechenaultia, Dampiera and Scaevola. With a few exceptions goodenias, generally, are not widely cultivated despite the fact that most are small shrubs or herbs with colourful flowers and well suited to smaller gardens.
Goodenia ovata is a small, open shrub up to about 1 metre high (occasionally higher). The leaves are glossy green and oval shaped to about 100 mm long. The yellow flowers occur in spring in the leaf axils and are conspicuous against the dark green leaves.
This species is not widely cultivated as it is perceived to have a “weedy” growth habit. It tends to grow quickly and can become open and untidy. However, it responds well to hard pruning and is a good plant to use as a quick-growing “filler”. A recent introduction is a completely prostrate form. This has a lot to offer as a quick growing and robust groundcover, although it does not tolerate extended dry conditions well. All forms are hardy in most soils and in a sunny or semi-shaded position.
Propagation of G.ovata is very easy from cuttings taken at most times of the year. Seed also germinates reliably but is not easily obtained.
Photo: Brian Walters