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Page sections: Bomaderry Zieria | Butchers Broom | Dawn Redwood | Giant Burmese Honeysuckle | Golden Trumpet Tree | Hoop Pine | Outeniqua Yellowwood | Pride of India | Queensland Bottle Tree | Spotted GumSwamp Cypress | Sweet Osmanthus | Sydney Red Gum Smooth-Barked Apple | Turpentine

Learn about some of our favourite plant species and discover where they can be found within the Garden.

Bomaderry Zieria 

Scientific name: Zieria baeuerlenii 

Family: Rutaceae

Location: Shoalhaven Sandstone area

Habitat: A member of the citrus family, Z. baeuerlenii  is one of many highly localised endemic species of Zieria in south east Australia. The Bomaderry Zieria occurs only in the Bomaderry Bush land. This population in a total is made up of 43 colonies in 6 discrete clusters. These clusters are confined within a 1km area of the bushland, and are found on both sides of Bomaderry Creek. Z. baeuerlenii occurs predominantly on well-drained shallow, sandy soils, it is often found in close proximity to outcropping sandstone rock in shrubby open-forest, shrubby woodland or closed scrub.

Cultivation: Z. baeuerlenii is a small, straggly shrub which grows to an average maximum height of 70cm, producing masses of small white to pink flowers in September to October. Despite reports of prolific flowering, no fruits or seeds have ever been observed. Evidence collected to date suggests that the species has lost its capacity to reproduce sexually, this may be the result of pollen sterility or the lack of a suitable pollinator. It is estimated this species may face extinction in the wild if sexual reproduction does not occur. Zieria baeuerlenii  is listed as an endangered species on schedule 1 of the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995.

Leaves opposite, comprised of three leaflets (trifoliolate) with both surfaces covered with a dense velvety layer of mostly stellate hairs. Central leaflet 6 to 18mm long and 4 to 12mm wide, broadly acute, recurved to revolute; secondary leaflets are similar in
shape but slightly smaller (approximately 3/4 the size); leaf stalk 1.5 to 2.3mm long.

Butchers Broom

Scientific name: Ruscus hypoglossum

Family: Ruscaceae

Location: Woodland garden

Habitat: Ruscus is a genus of six species of flowering plants in the family formerly classified in the family Liliaceae. The genus is native to western and southern Europe and Asia.

Cultivation: Butchers Broom is an evergreen shrub-like perennial growing to 1 metre tall .They have branched stems, and bear numerous cladodes (flattened, leaf-like stem tissue) 2 to 18cm long and 1 to 8cm broad (a unique feature uncommon to most flowering plants). The true leaves are minute, scale-like and non-photosynthetic. The true flowers are small, white with a dark violet centre, and situated on the middle of the cladodes. The fruit is a red berry 5 to10mm diameter. Some species are monoecious while others are dioecious.Ruscus is spread by seed and by means of underground rhizomes and it can colonize extensive patches of ground.

Dawn Redwood

Scientific name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Family: Cupressaceae

Location: Middle creek

Habitat: A deciduous conifer native to the Hubei region of china, it is one of three species of conifers known as redwoods, despite being the shortest of the redwoods it can reach  heights up to 60mt.

In Lichuan County, there is one Dawn Redwood forest, consisting of around 5,400 trees. Since its discovery, the Dawn Redwood has become something of a national point of pride, and it is both protected under Chinese law and planted widely. As such, it's not likely to go extinct, but Dawn Redwood is critically endangered in it natural environment, the demand for seedlings drives cone collection to the point that natural reproduction is no longer occurring in the Dawn Redwood forest, although the species will continue to live in yards, parks and on roadsides all over China, the M. glyptostroboides forest ecosystem could disappear when its mature trees die.

Cultivation: Dawn Redwoods have proved an easy tree to grow in temperate regions, and are now widely planted as ornamental tree reaching heights of 20 x 6 metre. M. glyptostroboides will thrive in standing water, much like the Bald Cypress, and if left branched to the ground in full sun, will develop the large, contorted boles that have made it famous.

Giant Burmese Honeysuckle

Scientific name: Lonicera hildebrandiana

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Location: Flowering Trees and Shrubs Bed Number 69

Habitat: This evergreen vine is native to Burma and China, able to climb to a massive height of 25 metres. The stems are woody and branching, producing attractive creamy orange colored tubular flowers in Summer.

Cultivation: Prefers rich moist well drained soils, in a protected sunny position. Although considered vigorous it is relatively low maintenance vine.

Golden Trumpet Tree

Scientific name: Tabebuia chrysantha

Family: Bigoniaceae 

Location: Flowering Tree Shrubs bed 72

Habitat: A rustic deciduous tree native to Central America where it forms part of the inter-tropical broadleaf deciduous forests above the Tropic of Capricorn. This stunning tree is capable of reaching a height of 7 metres with a spread of 2.5 metres. It is best viewed in Spring (September) where it produces large bright yellow trumpet shape flowers, arranged in dense clusters an eye-catching feature.

On May 29, 1948, Tabebuia chrysantha was declared the National Tree of Venezuela. Its deep yellow flowers resembles the one on the Venezuelan flag. It is one of about 100 species of Tabebuia.

Cultivation: Tabebuia defies hard, dry or poor soils, therefore its roots require well drained terrain in a warm sunny position. Leaves are opposite and petiolate, elliptic and lanceolate, with pinnate venation.

It is a slow growing, tree but long lasting. Flowering and fruiting take place in dry seasons this way the seeds can to advantage of early rains. If the raining season is delayed it may flower and fruit mildly a second time. It is a highly efficient moisture manager.

Hoop Pine

Scientific name: Araucaria cunninghamii

Family: Araucariaceae

Location: Illawarra Rainforest - southern side

Habitat: A tall tree reaching staggering heights of up to 50 meters and capable of producing stems to 1.5 metres in diameter. Occurs naturally in warmer dry rainforest (often as an emergent) on soils that are rocky or have relatively low fertility. Range extends north from Nambuca in New South Wales through to Queensland.

Cultivation: The bark is dark greyish brown, with horizontally wrinkled leaves clustered at the end of branches. The timber is a pale yellow-brown colour with a fine texture and a straight grain making it useful for furniture, flooring, and paneling.

Outeniqua Yellowwood

Scientific name: Podocarpus falcatus

Family:  Podocarpaceae

Location: Lawn area at the front of Glennifer Brae Manor.

Habitat: An evergreen conifer native to the Montane forests of South Africa capable of reaching a height of 60 metres. Fortunately when grown in cultivation, it is a medium-sized to large tree, reaching heights of 10 to 25 metres.

Cultivation: This fast-growing, elegantly shaped tree is certainly a tree for all seasons and all gardens. It is an excellent container plant and can also be decorated and used as an indoor Christmas tree. The wood is used extensively for furniture, roof beams, floorboards, and boat building. Some of the famous yellowwood antiques seen throughout South Africa were made from the wood of this specific tree. The bark is interesting, being smooth and ridged on younger stems and peeling off in flakes on the older trees. Male and female cones occur on different trees. The large yellow fleshy fruits take a year to ripen and hang from the branches in clusters.

Pride of India

Scientific name: Lagerstroemia speciosa

Family: Lythraceae

Location: Flowering Trees and Shrubs Bed 77

Habitat: Pride of India is a species of Lagerstroemia native to tropical southern Asia this small to medium-sized tree can reach heights of 10metres.

Cultivation: Widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. Decorative features include smooth flaky bark, and spectacular autumn foliage. The smooth rounded leaves are deciduous and range in color from orange to red
Flowers are produced in terminal clusters 20 to 40cm long, each flower with six white to purple crepe-like petals. Ideal as a specimen tree or landscape feature in a large garden.
Lagerstroemia speciosa is a Philippine medicinal tree traditionally used to lower high blood sugar in the body.

Queensland Bottle Tree

Scientific name: Brachychiton rupestris

Family: Steruliaceae / Malvaceae  

Location: Lawn area south of the Discovery Centre

Habitat: A native of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. This evergreen or deciduous tree can grow to 18 to 20 metres high. Its grossly swollen trunk has the unique shape of a bottle (which can spread to 6metres) which is primarily used for water storage and gives it a remarkable appearance.

Cultivation: Bottle trees grow best in well drained, slightly acidic soil, in full sunshine. Suited to temperate subtropical and tropical climates. In the first stages of growth, the Bottle Tree is very slow growing; the formation of the unique bottle shape is not visible until the tree is about fifteen years old.

The leaf shape varies from tree to tree from narrow and elliptic to deeply divided. Clusters of yellowy bell shaped flowers are hidden within the foliage, and are followed by woody boat-shaped fruits.

Spotted Gum

Scientific name: Corymbia maculata

Family: Myrtaceae

Location: Indigenous Garden opposite the rainforest

Habitat: Develops into a medium to tall tree up to 45 meters. The smooth, mottled bark of C. maculata is an attractive feature rangeing in color from white, grey or pink, often spotted and shedding in small polygonal flakes.

Leaves are the typical lance shape shared by many eucalypts and are 10 to 20cm long by 2.5cm wide. The white flowers occur in winter to spring but are not as conspicuous as they are with a number of other corymbias. They do however attract honey eating birds.

The flowers are followed by brown, barrel shaped fruits about 15mm in diameter. The Spotted Gum is dominant in open forest in drier sites on shale’s and slates in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. 

Cultivation: Although a very decorative species it is perhaps too large for most suburban garden. On larger properties or in parklands it is a superb feature, particularly if planted closely. It is suited to temperate to tropical areas but will grow satisfactorily in drier climates if water is available. Adaptable to a wide range of soils provided they are not waterlogged. Like most smooth-barked eucalypts, the bark sheds in early summer.

The timber of spotted gum is very strong and is exploited commercially for a range of construction uses. It is also used for honey production. Corymbia maculata is one of around 80 eucalypts which were transferred in 1995 from the genus Eucalyptus to the newly created genus Corymbia. The species was formerly known as Eucalyptus maculata.

Swamp Cypress

Scientific name: Taxodium distichum

Family: Cupressaceae

Location: Middle Creek

Habitat: A large deciduous conifer reaching heights of 30 to 40 metres with a trunk diameter of 3 metres. Native to south-eastern United States. Bald Cypress occurs mainly along riparian (riverside) wetlands normally subject to periodic floo

The Bald Cypress was designated the official state tree of Louisiana in 1963. The tallest known individual specimen is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, standing at 44 metres high. It is deciduous,  losing the leaves in the winter months hence the name 'bald'.

Cultivation: Bald Cypress growing in swamps have a modified root system known as cypress knees. These are woody projections sent above the ground or water that are part of the root system. Their function was once thought to provide oxygen to the roots which grow in  low dissolved oxygen waters typical of a swamp (as in mangroves). However, there is little evidence for this; in fact, roots of swamp-dwelling specimens whose knees are removed do not decrease in oxygen content and the trees continue to thrive. Another more likely function is they provide structural support and stabilization. Bald Cypress growing on flood-prone sites tends to form buttressed bases, but trees grown on drier sites may lack this feature. Buttressed bases and a strong, intertwined root system allows them to resist very strong winds.

In cultivation Taxodium is a very popular ornamental tree grown for its light feathery foliage and orange-brown autumn color. The bark is gray-brown to red-brown, shallowly vertically fissured, with a stringy texture. They thrive on a wide range of soils including well-drained and waterlogged swampy soils.

Sweet Osmanthus

Scientific name: Osmanthus fragrans

Family: Oleaceae

Location: Woodland, adjacent to the gazebo

Habitat: Native to China Japan and the Himalayas, this evergreen shrub or small tree reaches heights of 9 metres and 3 metres wide. The flowers are produced in small clusters in late summer - autumn and  range in color from white, pale yellow, yellow, or orange, although quite insignificant in appearance they give off a sweet delightful fragrance which adds to the overall experience of a stroll through the woodland. The fruit is a purple-black drupe 10 to 15mm long containing a single hard-shelled seed; it is mature in the spring about six months after flowering

Cultivation: Adaptable to most soils but prefers an open sunny position, slow growing but long lived, frost resistant however drought tender. Traditional Chinese ingredient added to Jasmine tea to provide scent. is also the 'city flower' of Hangzhou, China. 

Sydney Red Gum Smooth-Barked Apple

Scientific name: Angophora costata

Family: Myrtaceae

Location: Lawn area adjacent to the Japanese Pavilion  

Habitat: Angophora costata is a common woodland and forest tree of Eastern Australia.  Evergreen tree up to 25 metres tall usually single trunked with a broad dome of twisting branches, flowers late spring to mid summer. The trunk is often gnarled and crooked with a pink to pale grey, sometimes rusty-stained bark, the old bark is shed in spring in large flakes with the new salmon-pink bark turning to pale grey before the next shedding, an attractive feature of this species. In nature the butts of such limbs form callused bumps on the trunk and add to the gnarled appearance

Cultivation: Widely scattered and locally abundant, growing primarily on well drained sandstone soils, usually on headlands, plateaus or other elevated areas. The timber is brittle and limbs tend to fall readily, a characteristic which limits the places it can be cultivated. The angophoras are often mistaken for Eucalypts in the bush and although they are closely related, there are a few features which separate these two genera - the adult leaves are oppositely arranged instead of alternate as are Eucalypts and the flower buds are covered in the unopened state by 5 small calyx lobes or scales instead of an operculum or bud cap.


Scientific name: Syncarpia glomulifera

Family: Myrtacae

Location: An attractive specimen can be seen at the rear of the Discovery centre.

Habitat: Turpentine is a tall straight tree with attractive fibrous persistent bark, capable of reaching heights of well over 30 metres and attains a great deal of character in its old age. It often grows as an emergent near the margins of rainforest or in wet sclerophyll forest with deep fertile soils. It is widespread in coastal districts and the lower ranges, north from Murramurang National Park, New South Wales. It is one of the dominant species of the critically endangered Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community.

Cultivation: Turpentine was a sought after timber in the early days of Australian settlement and was extensively logged in the Illawarra region. The various stands of Turpentines at the Wollongong Botanic Garden are naturally occurring, a prominent feature and reminder of the natural environment which once occupied this landscape. Characteristic fruits have seven capsules fused into a woody head resembaling a spaceship. Leaves are whorled and bears fluffy white flowers. In cultivation they are best planted in groups for protection; this also creates an attractive landscape effect. Excellent as a windbreak or specimen tree for large parks or gardens.

Scientific name: Pomaderris adnata

Family: Rhamnaceae

Location: Currently growing in the recently developed Illawarra sandstone Collection

Habitat: A spreading shrub to 2 metres tall, occurs naturally on sandy soils in woodland on the Illawarra escarpment. In 2002 after extensive bush fires in the Bulli region it was estimated there were only 5 known plants remaining in the wild, making Pomaderris adnata one of the rarest plants in New South Wales. Although currently listed as endangered, natural regeneration of this species has occurred in a number of sites  in the Bulli area. It still remains an interesting rare shrub endemic to the Wollongong area.

Cultivation: Flowers are pale yellow, occurring in late September although buds are present on the plant for many months before the flowers open. Leaves are narrowly oval in shape 1.5 to 3cm long and 3 to 8 mm wide, margins recurved and entire to sinuate; upper surface glabrous; lower surface pubescent with greyish stellate hairs.

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