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EREMOPHILA maculata

Image of Eremophila maculata

James H. Schutte

Family

Myoporaceae

Botanical Name

EREMOPHILA maculata

Plant Common Name

Spotted Emu Bush

General Description

An evergreen shrub native to the mainland of Australia, spotted emu bush is tolerant of heat, drought, light freezes and tropical humidity. In fact, its generic name Eremophila literally means "desert loving." This species is best known for its narrow, gray-green leaves, and tubular flowers of red, yellow, orange or pink, with white spotted throats. Height and habit are as variable as flower color, so it pays to choose a cultivar with a known characteristics.

When the new leaves first emerge they are hairy and become smoother and dull gray-green. Flowering is heaviest from midwinter to late spring but these plants can bloom intermittently throughout the year as long as growing conditions are favorable. The large, tubular blossoms have a larger upper lips and smaller lower lip. The throats of the colorful blooms are spotted with white and darker colored spots. The blooms are bird pollinated and attract different avian species wherever they are planted in the world, though bees may also visit them.

Grow spotted emu bush in full sun and fast-draining soil that is neutral to alkaline. Though a true desert plant, this species naturally grows in flood plains, so it can take a little more soil moisture for limited periods of time. Plants grown in highly arid landscapes tend to be shorter than garden grown specimens that receive regular water. Spotted emu bush responds well to pruning.

Place and plant this tough shrub in arid naturalistic plantings, sunny mixed shrub borders and pedestrian landscapes. There are several desirable garden selections: 'Aurea' has yellow flowers and light green leaves, and 'Pink Beauty' is especially floriferous and has bluish pink blossoms.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-8' / 0.6m - 2.4m

  • Width

    3'-6' / 0.9m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Winter, Late Winter, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink, Light Pink, Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No