Physopsis chrysophylla

Family: LAMIACEAE

Physopsis chrysophylla flowerOrigin of Scientific Name

Physopsis – after the genus physa and from the Greek opsis; resemblance, appearance.

chrysophylla - derived from the Greek chrysos; golden and phyllos; leaf.

Description

P. chrysophylla is a stunning ornamental shrub with ascending to erect branches and densely covered in brownish-yellow woolly hairs. It is the tallest of the five species of its genus growing to approximately 2-5 m in height and 1.5-3 m in width. The leaves are obovate, decussate, ascending to erect and olive green with a somewhat rough surface above and densely covered with golden-yellow hairs below. The leaf margins are slightly recurved and often wavy and toothed towards the blunt apex. Inflorescence is golden-yellow on terminal spikes 3-5.5 cm x 0.5-0.8 cm. Flowers to 0.4 cm long, bell-shaped, golden-yellow, bluntly lobed with exterior densely golden-hairy.

Distribution

It is limited in the wild to a few small populations in the Carnarvon, Geraldton Sandplains and Yalgoo regions and occurs in red or yellow sandy soils. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Environment and Conservation's FloraBase online herbarium.

Cultivation/Propagation

Propagation is from seed or cuttings of fairly young growth, which can be struck but there are often problems encountered because of the densely hairy stems. Application of hormone rooting powders or liquids can be beneficial. P. chrysophylla has high potential for growing as an ornamental shrub in gardens of semi-arid and warm temperate regions. Plants need excellent drainage and a warm to hot aspect with plenty of sunshine. It will tolerate moderate frosts. Tip pruning from an early stage will promote bushy growth and will respond well to a decent prune after flowering. For best results, plants respond better to limited watering. Do not overwater during the summer months.

Flowering Season

September to January

Notes

Previously known as Newcastelia chrysophylla, Physopsis can be distinguished mainly by the leaf and corolla characteristics. This species is listed as priority HP3. The striking gold coloured stems of this unique plant will liven up any garden with its vibrant colour and interesting form.

View in Kings Park

This species can be seen growing in the Wadjuk garden bed (where Wadjuk meets May Drive) in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. They are also planted in the Conservation Garden within the Western Australian Botanic Garden.