Membership is available to members of an ANPSA-affiliated Regional Society. If you are not a member of a Regional Society, please contact the Society located in your State or Territory for further information.
You can download a membership form by clicking here or, if you would like further information on the Group and its activities, please send a request using the following form (please note that all fields are mandatory* – you may edit the ‘Message’ field if necessary).
Eremophila Study Group FormSignup form for the Eremophila Study Group that sends a notification to the Study Group leader.
The Study Group produces several informative newsletters each year documenting reports from members into cultivation issues in various climatic zones, propagation methods, natural occurrences of different species and information on Group meetings and excursions.
Most of the past Study Group Newsletters are provided here as an archive. Please note that these early Newsletters have been scanned in from a Compendium of Study Group Newsletters and the vagaries of the scanning system mean that some “Page 2’s” are blank – however all the newsletter text is there (page numbering also comes from that Compendium).
The most recent Newsletters will be uploaded about a year in arrears, so that current Study Group members have privileged access to current content.
Indexes are available for issues 1-100 of the Study Group newsletter but there are some gaps.
The newsletters are in pdf format and will require a PDF Reader to view them. Free readers include Foxit Reader and Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Eremophila Image Database
This image database aims to illustrate all Eremophila species and cultivars with photographs showing flower and foliage characteristics and basic information on plant size and flower colour. The database also includes Eremophila hybrids and cultivars.
As there are over 200 species of in the genus, as well as numerous cultivars, the database is a work-in-progress and it will be some time before all species and cultivars are included.
Eremophila Plant Profiles
In addition to the Eremophila Image Gallery, detailed profiles of a number of Eremophila species have been incorporated into the Eremophila and Relatives section of the website, which can be found under ‘Plant Guides > Common Plant Genera and Families’.
Each profile includes a photograph and information on natural distribution, taxonomy, cultivation and propagation.
The Eremophila and Relatives section of the website also covers the characteristics, cultivation and propagation of eremophilas generally, and include references to other relevant resources.
Eremophila Regeneration Following Fire
Ken Warnes, founder of our study group, lives in Owen, South Australia and has a farm about 6km from town. Up until November 2016 he had a large Eremophila plantation with over 300 specimens, and hybrids, which had flourished for many years. On 24 November 2015 a fast-moving grass fire started at Pinery, travelled south-east and then north-east towards Owen and Kapunda, affecting dozens of landholders. The fire burnt 84,000 hectares including parts of Ken’s property (but not the house).
Ken has been recording the impact of the fires on his Eremophila plantation, including what has happened since. Ken’s report, which included numerous photos, can be found in the June 2016 issue of the Study Group’s newsletter.
An additional series of photos further illustrate the effect of the fire on Ken’s collection and its subsequent regeneration.
Eremophila Field Trip Gallery
Members of the Study Group traveled to Port Augusta, South Australia, from 8 to 10 September 2017, visiting the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens (AALBG) and private properties.
This series of photos document some of the plants seen on the excursion.
These are a few internet and other resources on Eremophila that might prove useful.
Click here for a list of retail and wholesale nurseries that stock Eremophila species and cultivars as well as ANPSA groups that hold plant sales from time to time.
JUST OUT – September 2021! – Two new monographs on Eremophila – a field guide and horticultural guide.
- Wait, R et al (2021): Growing Eremophila, published by Russell Wait. Hardback, 504pp. For inquiries email: Eremophilabook(at)gmail.com
- Brown, A and Buirchell B (2021 – 2nd edition), A Field Guide to the Eremophilas of Western Australia, published by Andrew Brown. Paperback, 360pp. ORDER HERE
- Boschen, N, Goods M and Wait R (2008), Australia’s Eremophilas, changing gardens for a changing climate, Bloomings Books, Melbourne.
- Chinnock, R.J (2007), Eremophila and Allied Genera: A Monograph of the Myoporaceae, Rosenberg Publications, Kenthurst, New South Wales.
- Society for Growing Australian Plants – South Australian Region (1997), Eremophilas for the Garden, SGAP (SA Region).
Scholarly Articles and Journals:
Several issues of the Society’s journal “Australian Plants” are particularly useful for those interested in Eremophila. There has also been some recent academic work that has extended our understanding of the genus’ taxonomy.
- Preprint, November 2020: Gericke, O, Fowler R et al, Navigating through chemical space and evolutionary time with Eremophila.
- Plant Systematics and Evolution (2020) 306-52: Fowler R et al, Plastic Phylogenomic Analysis of Tribe Myoporeae (Scrophulariaceae).
- Taxon 70(3):570-588, 2021: Fowler R et al, Molecular Phylogeny of tribe Myoporeae (Scrophulariacae) using nuclear ribosomal DNA: Genetic relationships and evidence for major clades.
- Australian Plants Vol 30, No. 244 Spring 2020; Special edition featuring Eremophila – 48 pages, 65 colour photos on Eremophila in the wild and in your garden. ORDER HERE
- Australian Plants Vol 28, No. 226 Autumn 2016; Unlocking germination secrets: a method for Eremophila glabra ssp glabra.
- Australian Plants Vol 28, No. 222 Autumn 2015; ‘Jahnsville’ 1983-2015, Gawler S.A. (numerous photos of Eremophila sp.).
- Australian Plants Vol 25, No.199 June 2009; Growing Eremophilas in Western Sydney, From the desert to the garden – Eremophilas.
- Australian Plants Vol 20, No.163 June 2000; Eremophila as cut flowers, Eremophila in floraculture, Eremophila seed germination.
- Economic Botany 48(1): 35-59, 1994: Richmond G and Ghisalbertii E (1994), The Australian Desert Shrub Eremophila (Myoporaceae): Medicinal, Cultural , Horticultural and Phytochemical Uses.
- Australian Native Plant Noticeboard and Marketplace
- Australian Native Plants Enthusiasts Forum on Facebook
- Old Man Emu Bush Facebook Group
- Gardening With Angus – useful site about all sorts of native plants. Search for Eremophila on the home page for species information or read Eremophila – the Genus as a Garden Subject for an overview
- Eremophilas in San Diego
- Eremophila: The Emu Bush – A review of emu bush cultivation
- Eremophila and Pollinators
- Eremophila debilis – article by the National Botanic Gardens
- Eremophilas for the Sydney Region
- Eremophilas in Containers
- Eremophila Growers on Facebook.
- Eremophilas; the desert lovers by Ian Fraser – overview of the genus with many photos.
- Eremophila subfloccosa – article by the National Botanic Gardens
- Germination Trials with Eremophila species
- Grafting Grey-leafed Eremophilas in Melbourne
- Growing Eremophilas in the Dandenongs
- Smoke Stimulates the Germination of Many Western Australian Plants, by K.Dixon and S.Roche – contains useful information on research into many plant genera.
- Taking a Chance on Eremophilas
- The Weeping Emu Bush – Eremophila longifolia
- Tolerance of Eremophilas to Heavy Frost
Eremophila Study Group Leaders
Since its inception in 1975, several people have led the group. Here is some brief background information on each.
Lyndal Thorburn, Queanbeyan NSW (2015-)
Lyndal, a biologist by training, took over as leader of the study group after Colin Jenning’s death in 2015. She has been a member of the Australian Native Plants Society – Canberra Region since 1979 and has been involved with its propagation group ever since, as well as spending over a decade on the Regional Council, and two years as an Executive member of the federal body.
Lyndal began growing eremophilas in the mid-1980s in the frosty outskirts of Canberra and has been happy to prove that many can grow in both cold and shade (but is a bit puzzled as to why her plants never look like the ones in the photos). She and her husband Tom Jordan have introduced many Eremophila species to Canberra growers and, through the propagation group, over 100 varieties are now sold by ANPS Canberra at their bi-annual sales. She is skilled at propagating from cuttings but is a total failure at grafting!
Colin Jennings, Adelaide SA (1990-2015)
Colin was an active member of SGAP (SA Region) for a number of years, with a particular involvement in propagating plants for the twice a year plants sales. His interest in plants of the semi-arid areas, and in particular eremophilas, stemmed from a general interest in Australian native plants from the early 1960s.
A chemist and teacher by training, Colin had a wide range of horticultural interests in native plants as well as orchids, begonias, hoyas and the family Asclepidaceae generally. Colin was an enthusiastic leader of the study group, initiating a number of surveys of species in cultivation. Colin and his wife Myrnie were granted service awards at the 2014 Australian Plant Society of South Australia’s Annual General Meeting, and he was a life member of Orchid Society. Colin died in 2015.
Geoff Needham, Adelaide South Australia (1980-1989)
In his working life Geoff was highly regarded in the foundry industry and joined the Society for Growing Australian Plants in 1964. He served a two year term as State President in 1969-70 and assisted Ken in his management of the Study group once it was founded and in collecting. He was known to be a very effective propagator with his unique mixture based on coke breeze from the foundry.
Geoff took over the study group in 1980 and it was during this that Bob Chinnock began his study of the genus and the two worked closely together.
Despite flirtations with bromeliads, succulents and carnivorous plants (he was a highly respected speaker on the latter) Geoff saw the Study Group grow to 130 members growing over 120 species and eremophilas become relatively common garden subjects over a wide area. Geoff died in office in 1989.
Ken Warnes, Owen, South Australia (1975-1980)
Ken, a farmer, started studying the genus in 1963. He was a founding member of Project Eremophila, which was sponsored by the (then) Society for Growing Australian Plants – South Australia. He founded the study group in 1975 and ran it until 1980. Ken has been instrumental in bringing many Eremophila species to horticulture through his collecting and propagation efforts, including through his massive Eremophila “patch” at his farm outside of Owen. He received the National Amateur Award in 2011 (ANPSA) and is a Life Member of the Australian Plants Society (APS) – South Australia (and of the Study Group!)
Ken has also submitted a number of applications to the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) for named Eremophila cultivars (e.g. Eremophila ‘Picaninny Dawn’ and Eremophila ‘Nullarbor Nymph’, both of which arose in his garden) and has had E. warnesii named after him (see header photo). Ken is still active in the study group, is generous with his time and is excited about hybrids. The 2015 fires in Pinery, South Australia, which devastated part of his farm, have provided him with a new opportunity to explore hybridisation, recovery of eremophilas from fire and re-emergence of eremophilas in the local landscape (see Eremophila Regeneration Following Fire).
Grant for Seed Collection in Queensland
The Eremophila Study Group is seeking volunteers to help collect Eremophila fruit for a research project funded by Queensland’s Geoff Simmons Bequest. Our research partner, the University of Queensland, has designed a collection protocol for sampling Eremophila fruit from wild sites so they can study what affects the amount of seed set per fruit.
We are seeking volunteers from those who live in Queensland’s drier regions, or who are happy to visit these regions, during winter 2022 to collect fruit and record GPS locations so UQ staff can then visit to collect pollen and soil samples.
If you can help please contact Dr Robyn Cave from the University of Queensland by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers will be required to agree to collection limits in accordance with Queensland regulations and will need to be able to keep good written records. For more information on volunteering go to: https://npq.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Eremophilla-FAQs-for-volunteers-v4-April-2022.pdf
FAQs on the Eremophila Study Group’s Geoff Simmons Bequest Project
What is the Eremophila Study Group?
The Eremophila Study Group (ESG) is one of 17 study groups operating under the auspices of the Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Inc. Native Plants Queensland is a member society of ANPSA. The ESG was founded in 1972 and currently has 160 members from around Australia.
The Study Group aims to further knowledge about the cultivation, propagation and conservation of members of the genus Eremophila, which are commonly known as Emu Bushes.
More information about the ESG can be found at: https://anpsa.org.au/study_group/eremophila-study-group/
What are Eremophila?
Eremophila is a genus of ~240 described species which are found across the regions of Australia which usually receive less than 250mm rain annually. Of these about 10% are found in Queensland.
Eremophilas are the fifth most diverse native plant genus in Australia and are key components of the arid environment and of traditional Aboriginal medicinal practices. It is only recently that a limited number have come to home horticulture, but they are now offered by both specialist nurseries and retail outlets and are attractive to the general public because of their showy flowers, extended flowering times, and drought hardiness.
To see photos of Eremophila go to: http://anpsa.org.au/eremophila-image-database/
Why are we Interested in Fruit and Seed?
Eremophila produce fruit capsules which can hold up to four seeds when fully developed. These fruits start off green, but become hard and woody so they can withstand many years dormant in a dry environment, allowing germination only when the conditions are right.
In the wild, fruits may be held on the plant or may fall and remain dormant in the soil. There are anecdotal examples of fruit remaining viable in local environments for 50 or 60 years, emerging after a combination of fire and following rains, or heavy rain alone.
In its initial work with the University of Queensland, the ESG asked its members to send fruit from their garden plants for examination. Members sent almost 5,000 fruit from 69 species to the university. Examination of these by X-ray revealed that most fruit had no or few seeds. We wondered if this was because of conditions in members’ gardens (e.g. lack of required soil nutrients or specific pollinators) or whether it was due to a wider effect including climate change.
What is the project?
The project funded by the Geoff Simmons Bequest aims to collect seed (in fruit) from wild populations of Eremophila species in order to determine fruit production and seed fill/quality for species growing in the wild and compare it with fruit from the same species growing in members’ gardens; correlate seed fill and weather during flowering and seed formation; and assess pollen viability and pollen formation and cross reference this with weather and climate data.
We have funds to do the following:
- Collect fruit from wild populations of Eremophila in Queensland, recording GPS location. At the same time, collect soil samples and pollen samples. All samples will be stored at the University.
- Gather weather data (online) for the collection locations;
- X-ray the fruit and record seed fill and quality; and
- Cross reference the weather data and seed fill information to draw conclusions about the influence of weather and climate on seed fill and viability
- examine pollen formation and cross reference with weather and climate data to draw conclusions on the influence of weather and climate on pollen formation and germination
- Collect soil microbiome samples for later analysis and cross referencing with weather and climate data (this analysis is not funded by the current project – samples will be stored until funds are available)
What Outcomes are Expected?
We expect the following outcomes:
- Collections of seed of several species not in cultivation, which can be shared with NPQ if desired
- Data on seed fill and quality of selected species by location, cross correlated against climate and weather data, from wild and domestic populations (the latter using fruit already sent by members – this is being stored at 15°C in the University cool rooms)
This will allow us to draw conclusions about the seed fill and quality of wild populations of the selected species and reasons for any observed geographic variations
- Data on pollen viability to cross correlate against seed fill data. This will provide further insights into reasons for poor seed fill in domestic specimens and will enable conclusions to be drawn about viability of seed in the wild
- Findings which can be published in academic literature and presented to NPQ or ESG events
When will we see the results?
We expect seed collection to start in or after April 2022 and this will continue throughout winter. The project will deliver its results in April 2023. These will be publicly announced through the ESG newsletter and other avenues including academic publications.
What do I have to do if I volunteer?
Fruit collection volunteers will need to agree to follow the collection rules set by the Code of Practice for the Take and Use of Protected Plants Under an Exemption Nature Conservation Act 1992. Under this Code, collectors must agree to:
- record the GPS coordinates of all collections;
- limit fruit collection to no more than 20% of the fruit on any one plant;
- Collect any Eremophila species occurring naturally in Queensland EXCEPT Eremophila stenophylla or tetraptera
Do I need to also collect Pollen and Soil?
No, the university will use the GPS coordinates submitted by volunteers to travel to the site and collect pollen and soil
What Do I do With my samples?
Volunteers need to be able to
- Store collected fruit in accordance with directions from the university
- Post samples to the university by specified dates
- Provide whatever other information the university requires in order to ensure the samples can be used in the research, including GPS coordinates
- Photograph the bush and flowers for reference
How Will Volunteers be Acknowledged?
Volunteers will be put on a mail list to receive news of the project as it progresses. Individuals will be acknowledged through the ESG newsletter and via the ESG webpage on the project.
Will I Be Paid?
No, volunteers will not be paid for their time or the costs of collecting. There are limited funds available for covering petrol costs for any travel over 200km round trip – for which petrol receipts must be provided. These are available on a first-come-first-served basis to ESG members only.
What about Insurance?
Members of the member societies of ANPSA (including ESG members) will be covered by ANPSA’s public liability insurance for any damage they accidentally cause to third parties on official business under the project. This insurance does not provide any coverage for their own injuries or damage to their own property.
Any other members of the public are not covered by ANSPA insurance and participate at their own risk.
We advise all participants to consider taking out a private travel insurance policy if they want insurance coverage for damage to their own equipment or belongings, injury or illness to themselves, or to cover potential expenses due to changes in travel plans, missed flights, bogged vehicles etc etc.