Real World Gardener Emu Bush is Plant of the Week

May 29th, 2020


Scientific name: Eremophila sp. 

Common name: emu bush


EtymologyTheir name is from the Greek 'eremos' meaning desert and 'philio' - love. 

Distribution: Australia especially Wetern Australia

Native Habitat:Grow where rainfall is sparse, adapted to dry habitats

Climate: Warm temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid, Arid



Here we go with one of those little heard of native plants that’s probably hard to track down.

But it’s the distinctive, but diverse flowers of these plants (eremophila) that are the real show-stoppers. 


Let’s find out more.

I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and horticulturist.

Adrian says don't expect them to last more than several years if growing them on the eastern, because of the high humidity.

The general species have grey leaves with purple flowers.

Grafted plants, although more expensive, last longer. Eremophila nivea is one example that's available as a grafted plant.

  • Tip: check out the Olive Pink garden in Alice Spring.

Eremophilas come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from ground covers to shrubs, to small trees and they can be found growing in the toughest of conditions.

They are drought resistant and tolerant of frost once established.

  • Some of the flowers are insect pollinated and others are pollinated by birds. It's apparent by the colour and shape of the flower. "The flat, purple or violet ones tend to be insect pollinated. Some flowers have little tracks on the inside which are like landing strips for the insects."
  • "The tubular flowers are more often bird-pollinated - their beaks delve into the long tubes for the nectar at the bottom. The pollen ends up on their heads and they move on to the next flower. Tubular flowers have a curious twist: they flare at the ends and split in such a way that they look like they are growing backwards on their stems.


  1. bignoniflora grows well in Adelaide Botanic Gardens.


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