Common name: Gillam’s Bell

Family: MYRTACEAE

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.

Description

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.

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