Thursday, October 31, 2013

Telopea Truncata - the Tassie Waratah

Telopea Truncata is the botanical name for the Tasmanian Waratah, a wonderful wild flower that blooms in spring.  I've begun picking these beauties for the season with one of my bushes, a rather large and productive one, flowering weeks before the rest.  It's a joy to grow these special flowers!

Telopea Truncata is a many-branched shrub up to 3 m tall.
The plant can grow to 3 metres with long stems reaching for the sky.  It can take you by surprise, flowering all of a sudden.  The buds, often covered with fine brown hairs,  swell within a few days given the right conditions, and then emerge with red folded blooms.  

Flowers look smaller and less bright when they are just beginning to open.
 What we call the "flower" is actually a cluster of up to 20 individual flowers.  These "unfold" and assemble themselves roughly facing the centre of a circle.  Each individual little flower then begins to unfold freeing their styles with the effect that the flower gets larger and more sculptural.  It also gets more intensely pinky red.  

I pick the waratah early,  before the first "unfolding", which gives them maximum vase life.  They are smaller and less brightly coloured at this stage, but they will continue to unfold naturally and brighten in colour even after being picked.  

The "flowers" have arranged themselves and are beginning to open.

Some of the styles are beginning to emerge from these flowers.  Intense colour and bent styles are typical of Telopea Truncata

The brighter flowers are the more mature flowers.

More mature plants will produce hundreds of blooms each season.  All these are from one of my bushes which flowers 2 weeks earlier than all the rest every year.  It is only about 15% of the flowers this bush produces.  

Telopea Truncata makes a fabulous garden plant too.  

Honeyeaters love these beautiful blooms, which develop droplets of sugary syrup as the flowers reach their peak.  

I know I'm biased, but I have a soft spot for these lovely little waratahs!

1 comment:

  1. It is easy to sea why you have such a soft spot for them! To top it all they appear to have lovely long and straight stems ideal for sharing the beauty.