The floral emblem or state flower of New South Wales since 1962, the Waratah is an erect shrub with tough, dark green leaves. The plant thrives in deep, sandy, well-drained soils and grows to a height of 3 metres with a spread of between 1.5 and 2.5 metres, naturally occuring as an understorey shrub in woodlands, preferring some shade and dappled sunlight.
The waratah has large, scalloped leaves and, in spring, produces magnificent red flowers which stand up above the ends of the branches. In good conditions, this brilliant display of flowers will cover the entire top of the bush.
Both the botanical and aboriginal names for the Waratah mean 'seen from afar'. The fiery red flowers measuring 10 to 12 centimeters across call for attention in the bush landscape. Of the 4 varieties of Waratah native to Australia, only the Telopea speciossima is found in New South Wales.
Grow What Basic - Australian Plant Study Group, 1983.
Fact sheet accompanying the 1995 Gold $100 Floral Emblems of Australia coin.
The Waratah is featured on the following Australian coins:
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Last modified: 05 December, 2007