Telopea is a large shrub in the plant family Proteaceae. The shrub grows to 3 or 4 m high and 2 m wide with dark green leaves. Its several stems arise from a pronounced woody base. The species is most renowned for its striking large red flowerheads, each including hundreds of individual flowers.
Commercially grown in several countries as a cut flower, it is also cultivated in home gardens, requiring good drainage yet adequate moisture, but is vulnerable to various fungal diseases and pests
An individual flowerhead reaches full size about two weeks after first emerging from the bracts, and lasts another two weeks. In the first phase, the individual small flowers, known as florets, remain unopened—and the flowerhead retains a compact shape—before they mature and split open, revealing the stigma, style, and anther
Fun Flower Facts about the Waratah
- This flower is the floral emblem for the State of New South Wales, which was officially named in 1962.
- The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal people, the first inhabitants of Sydney.
- Aboriginals used to make medicine from the flowers.
- Its scientific name means “most beautiful plant seen from afar.”
- In the language of flowers, the waratah means beautiful.
- Waratahs are known to be resilient plants in their native home, surviving bushfires.
- Waratahs produce an abundance of nectar, attracting birds.