Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas natives

It's that time of year again. The time when people start to question the use of 'exotic' Christmas plants and look for Australian native alternatives. While anything other than a plant from your local area is an exotic, even if Australian, there are a few iconic Christmas plants from our continent.

The Christmas Bush (Certaopetalum gummiferum) is one of the best known. It's just finished flowering and the red fruits will ripen in time for Christmas. Christmas Bells (Blandfordia grandiflora) is out already in the local Sydney bush.

If you want a holly alternative, consider the Holly Grevillea (Grevillea aquifolium), Holly Leafed Fuschia (Graptophylllum ilicifolium) or Dovewood/Native Holly (Alchornea ilicifolia). Or for that matter, any plant with a species name 'ilicifolia/um' or 'aquifolia/um', which means leaves like a holly! None of these have fruits quite like the European Holly but you get the same general feel.

As for the Australian Christmas Tree, I'd have to suggest the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis). It will live in a pot for 10 years or so if you keep it trimmed and well fed.

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