Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brush Hovea

Hovea longipes
I have been trying to catch this plant in flower for ages, and am surprised to have found it (at Irongate Nature Conservation Reserve) at this time of year.
Most Hoveas flower, magnificently, in late winter. This one is said to flower from March to September, though I have not actually seen it myself.
I now wonder whether it is a very flexible opportunist, able to take advantage of rain, whenever it occurs, to try for a successful crop of seeds - as do so many of the plants of the inland. Perhaps the rather modest number of flowers was also normal.
I would love to grow this plant. It is regarded as being so different from other hoveas that some botanists would like to see it reclassified under a new name. The flowers are blue, rather than the usual hovea purple, and the seedpods are a different shape.
It is a particularly attractive plant, even when not flowering - a large, rounded shrub, between 2 and 3 metres tall, and with a more substantial trunk than we usually expect in a hovea. Cattle pruned examples suggest that in a garden it could be persuaded with the secateurs to become a dense shrub. I suspect it of being longer-lived than other hoveas.

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