THRYPTOMENE is an all-Australian genus of the Myrtaceae family. There are about 35 different species. Some are so newly discovered that they are yet to be named. Many originate from the heathlands of South-West Western Australia. All are shrubs of varying heights and habits. They flower profusely with pink or white starry blooms symmetrically massed between neat, heath-like leaves. Some species flower several times a year, but the most prolific burst of flowers is in springtime. Beloved of florists world-wide, T. calycina [Grampians Thryptomene] is one of Australia’s most successful commercially-grown species for export and for the local cut-flower industry. Another popular Thryptomene is T. saxicola from Western Australia. This is an open, semi-weeping shrub, approximately 1 ½m. X 1 ½ m. Flower colour may be either pink or white. A pink-flowered variety, T. saxicola [F.C. Payne], has been available from nurseries for many years. T. saxicola ”Supernova”, is a cultivar bearing masses of white flowers several times a year. T. ericaea [Mat Heath Myrtle] originates from Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is a slender shrub, growing to approx. 0.5 to 1 m. Masses of tiny white buds open to reveal starry white flowers with a red centre. T. ericaea [Centenary Starburst] was chosen as the SA floral emblem for the Centenary of Federation in 2001. All thryptomenes require a relatively well-drained soil in full sun or dappled shade. They are frost, drought and lime tolerant, and generally disease-free. There may be an occasional webbing caterpillar infestation, which can be controlled with derris dust. All can be propagated from cuttings. This ensures maintaining the desired characteristics of the parent plant. And furthermore, thryptomene species respond well to pruning, provided that cuts are made on leaf-bearing stems. Cutting flowers for indoor display is a great way to manage this annual task.
◆ HARDY AND BEAUTIFUL: Thryptomene calycina [Grampians Thryptomene].