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10 things you didn't know about natives (until now)

October 25, 2022 4 min read

10 things you didn't know about natives (until now)

Aussie native plants are pretty incredible - not only do they survive in one of the most extreme fluctuating climates in the world, they thrive in it (and look damn good while they do so).

We’ve always had a soft spot fornative blooms, so we did a little digging and found out some super interesting facts about this hardy bunch. Read on to find out more about these incredible flowers, that you may even have growing in your backyard! 

10. Billy Buttons are a member of the daisy family

With their distinct yellow globular flower heads, it’s hard to imagine that billy buttons are a member of the daisy family. Their fun, playful look adds a pop of colour and texture to native posies and makes them good cut flowers for  boutonnieres, and floral arrangements.

9. There’s a native flower called ‘eggs and bacon’ 

As appealing as it looks, no you can’t serve it up to your significant other for breakfast.  With wide yellow petals and a dark reddish-brown center, it’s quite obvious where the name derives from.

8. The Kangaroo paw plant has nothing to do with kangaroos

The kangaroo paw plant actually has nothing to do with kangaroos, except that both the plant and the animal are native to Australia. Kangaroo paw plants have flowers that look like fans and grow in rows. They resemble the paw of an animal, which explains their name. The Nyoongar, an Indigenous, or native, aboriginal people of Australia called these flowers, 'nol-la-mara.' Mangle's kangaroo paw, which is a red and green type of the plant, was used in Aboriginal medicine.  These plants are so popular that they are the official floral emblem of Western Australia, where they have grown for millions of years. 

7. Sturt's Dessert Pea, ‘the Flower of Blood’ - the most interesting legend you’ve ever heard.

Sturt's Desert pea. The flower is referred to as the ‘Flower of Blood’ by some Koori groups. This title comes from the legend which tells of a young woman who escaped her marriage to another lover. The shunned man and some of his friends tracked the couple down after some years and killed them both.  Sometime later, the old man returned to the place where he had slain the lovers and found the ground covered with the scarlet flowers that we know as the Sturt’s Desert pea. The Desert Pea is a protected species, and it is illegal to collect or pick any without explicit written consent of the Australian government.It is also the state symbol of South Australia. Aboriginal People call it 'The Flower of Blood'. Some contemporary people also say, 'It now represents the blood that was shed during the invasion of their land and the following years of European settlement'. 

6. Banksias are a vital part of the food chain in the Aussie bush. 

Not only are Banksias often the shining star of our native posies, they are also a vital part of the food chain in the Aussie bush. Animals including birds, bats, rats and possums enjoy nothing more than chowing down on a Banksia plant. 

5. Bottlebrush are almost impossible to kill 

The name derives from the plant’s flowers, which look like brushes for cleaning bottles. They require minimal maintenance and are almost impossible to kill (phewf!). The flowers attract native birds, especially honey eaters, and reward growers with extraordinary amounts of colour. The original bottlebrush flowers were all bold red but flower colours now range from red to pink, mauve, cream and green.

4. Grevilleas are native flowers without petals

Shaped like a pink coil, grevilleas are native petal-less wildflowers. Also called spider flowers,grevillea make for good ground covers because they are hardy and easy to grow the whole year round. They’re a lively alternative to usual pink roses and brighten up any lunch table setting. 

 3. Desert Flame needs very little water to stay alive 

Flowering all year long in South East Queensland, Desert Flame gives a blaze of colour wherever it grows. A hardy little sucker (like many native flowers) - once established, very little water is needed to keep the plant alive. These cute little blooms attract bees, butterflies and other useful pollinators wherever they grow. 

2. Waratah battled it out with Wattle to claim the title of Australia’s national flower

The battle for a national floral emblem: Waratah vs wattle

The golden wattle officially became Australia’s national floral emblem in 1988 and in 1992 the Commonwealth Government formally designated 1 September as National Wattle Day. However, becoming the national floral emblem of the country wasn’t an easy journey for the golden wattle.

A fierce debate over what flower should become Australia’s national emblem first occurred  back in the 19th century. It’s opponent? The New South Wales Waratah. 

Team Wattle and Team Waratah battled it out in town halls and committee meetings, determined for their chosen flower to take out the title.

It is said the Waratah largely lost out because it only occurred across the east coast of Australia, while wattle was spread across the mainland, making it a more appropriate national floral emblem.

1. Lily Pilly’s are actually a superfood that can be eaten in salads 

Lilly Pilly is a native Australian shrub used for hedging and landscaping and best for privacy. However, did you know that Lilly Pilly fruits have become a super-food? Yes. Recent research says that Lilly Pilly’s pink fruits are edible and can be consumed and they’re called power fruits. They have a sour-sweet taste, which makes it perfect for some green salads as well.  

For more fun native flower and gift bundles, head to our native flowers shop. 

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