Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winter Blues

Hovea longipes
The brush hoveas at Irongate are really showing what they can do, this year. They have obviously appreciated the extra watering they got in January.

This is an unusual hovea species, and not just in its colour which is more blue than the typical hovea purple.
It is also different in that it flowers earlier in winter, filling that difficult niche when flowers can be harder to find. To judge by the old appearance of the plants at Irongate, I think the species may be much longer-lived than is usual with hoveas. Botanists find other differences, and this is one of those plants which we may yet see reorganised into a new name.
I would love to grow this one at home, but have never had any success in finding viable seed.
It is a sturdy, woody shrub - very happy on on the stony black soils of Darling Downs slopes. It is said to be able to grow to 5m high, though I've never seen it at more than 2. I imagine it could easily be kept to garden-size by pruning.

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