Common name: Gillam’s Bell


Darwinia oxylepis flower. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Darwinia – named in honour of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin by Edward Rudge in 1816.

oxylepis – (Greek) oxys – sharp, and lepis – a scale, referring to the flower bracts.


Darwinias are a beautiful genus and Darwinia oxylepis is certainly no exception. Within the small group of Darwinias collectively known as 'Mountain Bells', Gillam’s Bell is confined to the rocky gullies near the lower slopes of mountains in the Stirling Range National Park amongst mallee heathland.

Darwinia oxylepis is a small shrub reaching to approximately one metre in height with erect branches and short branchlets. Its small narrow leaves are almost cylindrical in cross-section, initially erect and then often spreading to curve backwards when mature.

From August to November, prominent bell-shaped flowers appear at the ends of branches. However, the 'flower' is really a cluster of small flowers enclosed within large hanging flower bracts (modified leaves) up to 30 mm long. The bracts are mainly deep red, but the uppermost bracts are greenish.

Unfortunately, this little gem is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 due to its restricted area of occupancy, small population sizes and impacts from disease, tourist activities and fire. It is sometimes available for sale in specialist nurseries though and makes a decorative container plant.

Horticultural tips

  • Not common in cultivation.
  • Propagates easily from cuttings and even better from grafting onto Darwinia citriodora.
  • Best grown in a container if the plant is not grafted.
  • Suits most soil types but requires well-drained soil.
  • Benefits from some protection from direct summer sun.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Darwinia oxylepis growing within the Conservation Garden in the Western Australian Botanic Garden.

Want more information?

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

Gillam's Bell in bloom. Photo: D. Blumer.Darwinia oxylepis in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer.

Naturescape closed February

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park will be closed from Monday, 1 February 2021 until Tuesday, 2 March 2021.

Concert traffic interruptions

Road and carpark closures will occur in Kings Park and Botanic Garden in February-March 2021 due to concert events.

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Farewell and thank you Grady and Lesley

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) would like to extend a sincere thank you and farewell to two of our longest serving staff members, Lesley Hammersley and Grady Brand who will retire from the Authority in December 2020.

Noongar Boodja Six Seasons is back!

Kings Park Education is excited to open bookings for our 2021 program of Noongar Boodja Six Seasons festivals, a celebration of Aboriginal culture, proudly presented by Fugro.

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