Boronia megastigmaCommon name: Scented Boronia, Brown Boronia
Family: RUTACEAE (150 Genera)
Origin of Scientific Name
Boronia: After Francesco Borone (1769 - 1794) of Milan, assistant to the English botanist John Sibthorpe and other botanical collectors, and himself a keen botanical observer.
megastigma: Greek megas = great, large + Greek stigma = stigma.
Small, slender, evergreen shrub 0.2 to 2 m tall, but generally no taller than 1.5 m. Leaves are dark green, narrow, linear and glandular, giving year-round scent, but it is the flowers that give the intense, heady perfume for which it is highly prized in the essential oil industry and as an aromatic cut flower. The flowers are cup-shaped, approximately 1 cm across, deep red to brown externally and yellow internally with very prominent (as the name would suggest) stigmas. There are several cultivars with different coloured flowers, including the striped ‘Harlequin’ and all yellow 'Lutea'.
DistributionSouth-west tip of WA, from Collie on the west coast to Albany on the south coast. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Environment and Conservation's FloraBase online herbarium.
July to October.
Like all Boronias, they are very hard to grow from seed but can be propagated with about 25% strike rate from semi hardwood cuttings; a rooting hormone gel will help. Plant into a well-cultivated soil in spring, water well all year round and mulch to keep shallow root zone cool. They prefer part shade and will do much better in containers. Prune after flowering to maintain desired shape and promote flowering in the following season. They are frost tolerant to about –7° C and will not do well in sub-tropical and tropical climates.
Read more about the cultivation of this plant, in The Department of Agriculture and Food's 'Farmnotes'.
Pests and Diseases
A large part of their failure to do well in Perth soils is probably due to their susceptibility to phytophthora (dieback), fusarium (root rot) and nematodes, but this can be overcome to a large degree by planting in containers.
View This Plant In Kings Park
In the Boronia bed just south of Gija Jumulu (the Giant Boab).
As the fragrance is strongest when the stigmas are receptive, it is thought that the perfume is a way of attracting pollinators to the flowers.