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Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

Ben Shaw

Katoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

This is an unusual specimen of the Waratah. It is a double header, which is a rare find. I discovered this deep in the bush in the Blue Mountains. I have never seen one like this either in the wild or even in a photo. It is proof that mother nature doesn’t always get it right. Having said that I still think it is an amazing specimen. Following is some further detail about the Waratah.

The NSW Waratah – isn’t it magnificent! It stands proudly as one of the most beautiful and majestic flowers in the world.

There are five species in the Telopea genera. They are the -

◊ NSW Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)
◊ Gibraltar Range Waratah (Telopea aspera)
◊ Braidwood Waratah (Telopea mongaensis)
◊ Gippsland Waratah (Telopea oreades)
◊ Tasmanian Waratah (Telopea truncata).

Waratah is aboriginal for “beautiful”; Telopea is Greek for “seen from afar”.

The NSW Waratah grows to a height of 3 metres with leaves around 15cm in length. The crimson flowers are produced in early spring and have a diameter of 15cm.

The Waratah is indigenous to the Sydney region and may be found in its natural state from the NSW Central Coast down to Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, and to the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.

In 1962, the NSW Waratah was proclaimed the floral emblem of New South Wales.

Waratahs regrow after fire from their lignotubers underground. Waratahs and several other plants thrive in the years immediately following a bush fire before the canopy closes up. Waratahs are pollinated by birds – the seed pods maturing in early winter.

Although usually a vivid crimson in colour, the NSW Waratah occasionally has white tips or is pink. However the only white NSW Waratah that currently exists was found in the NSW Southern Highlands. Cuttings were taken and the Wirrimbirra White cultivar was produced.

The White Waratah Festival is celebrated each year in the Wollondilly Shire. [The Wollondilly Shire is centred on Picton which is about 100km south-west of Sydney].

Source: waratahsoftware.com.au

Artwork Comments

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