Common name: Western Australian Christmas Tree

Family: LORANTHACEAE

Christmas trees, Australian style. Photo: M. Seale.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Nuytsia – After Pieter Nuyts or Nuijts (1598–1655), Dutch mariner, explorer, and diplomat, who happened to be aboard the Dutch ship, Gulden Zeepaert (Golden Seahorse) in 1627, when it accidentally discovered the south western coast of Australia at Cape Leeuwin.

floribunda – (Latin) floris – flower, and abundus – abundant.

Description

Nuytsia floribunda is a fascinating plant both aesthetically and biologically. Aesthetically, this Western Australian native tree or shrub produces a dazzling display of vivid yellow/orange flowers around December, giving rise to its common name of the Western Australian Christmas Tree. 

Biologically, this species is the largest parasitic plant in the world as it attaches itself to the roots of other plants and sucks their sap. The species is related to mistletoe and is more accurately known as a hemi-parasite because, though they do feed off their hosts, they can also sustain themselves through photosynthesis.

Nuytsia floribunda is found only in the south-west of Western Australia from Kalbarri National Park on the north-west coast to Cape Le Grande on the south-east coast.

Horticultural tips

  • The seeds are relatively easy to germinate with a small growing host plant in the same pot.
  • They are a long-term garden plant proposition, taking up to 20 years to flower from seed sowing.
  • Often sold by the Friends of Kings Park at their regular plant sales and also available from specialist native plant nurseries.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Nuytsia floribunda adjacent to the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Fountain and within the Stirling Range Flora garden bed (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Christmas Tree branches. Photo: D. Blumer. Nuytsia floribunda flowers. Photo: D. Blumer. Christmas Tree is bright and cheerful. Photo: D. Blumer.

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