Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ceratopetalum gummiferum: New South Wales Christmas Bush

Dotted through bushland in summer in Sydney is the New South Wales Christmas Bush, Ceratapetalum gummiferum, its distinctive red colouring contrasting with the greens of foliage and whites of Eucalypt flowers. It's frequently cultivated, and many people decorate their houses at Christmas with sprays of it.

The red comes not from the flower petals though, but from the sepals. The small white flowers emerge in spring, but as the flowers begin to fruit, they fall off and the sepals elongate and turn red.

Ceratopetalum gummiferum - flowers
Flowers in spring

Ceratopetalum gummiferum
Flowers in summer

Our front verandah is one of my favourite spots to sit and read, or just to gaze out at the birds and the plants. The changing palette of the Christmas Bush adds to the appeal.

Ceratopetalum gummiferum

Ceratopetalum gummiferum

Have a great summer (or winter!) celebration, and I hope the new year brings you happiness and good health.

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