The genus Xanthostemon contains approximately 45 species and is found across tropical northern Australia as well as New Caledonia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. Thirteen species are found in Australia with X.chrysanthus being the best known.
Golden Penda is a medium-sized rainforest tree which may reach 20 metres in its natural environment but is usually smaller (12 metres x 10 metres spread) in cultivation. Leaves are glossy green and lance-shaped to about 150 mm long. The flowers occur in clusters near the ends of the branches and are bright yellow and very conspicuous. The stamens are the principal feature of the flowers (similar to its relatives, the eucalypts, bottlebrushres, etc). Flowering occurs in summer and autumn.
This is a very desirable garden plant for warmer climates in a sunny position in moist, well drained soils. It responds well to pruning and may be kept to large shrub proportions if pruned annually. In sub-tropical and tropical areas it flowers reliably and often within 2-3 years from seed. However, while it will grow in temperate areas, flowering is less reliable. It has been successfully flowered at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney but is not particularly vigourous there.
A selected cultivar “Expo Gold” was featured at the World Expo in 1988 in Brisbane.
Propagation is easy from fresh seed but germination may be slow. No special pre-treatment of seed is required. Cuttings are also successful using hardened, current season’s growth.
Photo: Richard Logan
Photo: Brian Walters