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THIS WEEK

Carrying a torch for the daisy with no why

The flowers are the colour (sometimes described as lilac pink) of the Cape Chestnut, Calodendron capense,and when the plant grows to the height of a small house it has the form and look of that beautiful tree (albeit in miniature).

Like the Cape Chestnut, Pompon Tree (or Pom-Pom Tree; Dais cotinifolia), this week's guest on Talking Plants, is from the eastern side of Africa mostly (although the Cape Chestnut extends through to Cape Town).

Both trees flower around Christmas in Melbourne, and in southern Africa. I know it from both Melbourne and Sydney's city botanic gardens, photographing it first in Sydney in December 2008 (the image below), and then in Melbourne, ten years later (all other pictures included here). Sophie Thomson, on Gardening Australia, describes it as an old-fashioned shrub, which these days is a bit of badge of honour.


I'm intrigued by the genus name Dais, which on first glance looks like it's misspelt Daisy. Then my mind drifts to daises. You know…

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