Hakea is a genus comprising 159 species and endemic to Australia and surrounding islands. The south-west of Western Australia has the majority of these, along with the east coast and the genus has a wide variety of leaf and flower types.
This South Australian native groundcover might easily be overlooked until it flowers (which, happily, it does for most of the year) Running Postman - Kennedia prostrata - is variously described as a herb and as a legume and can thrive in poor soil with no maintenance, as long as the drainage is good and frosts not too severe, and it improves soil fertility by fixing nitrogen.
The native hibiscus - Alyogyne huegelii - is no longer included in the hibiscus family, but is still known by this name. This intense purple form is 'West Coast Gem'. It's native to Western and South Australia. A white form is also available, with some nurseries stocking a pink variety and various cultivars.
You might be old enough to remember when a carnivorous plant called a Venus Fly-trap became an almost overnight fad. This fascinating species - what Charles Darwin, back in 1875, called 'one of the most wonderful in the world', is native to just North Carolina and can catch and digest prey as large as a frog.
Related to the Venus Flytrap, but with a more passive method of catching insects, is the Sundew. There are around 40 species of Sundew native to Australia out of 194 world-wide.
I've chosen the Buddleja (or Buddleia) as this month's feature plant with some reservations. They're not native to Australia (and hail from temperate regions of Asia, Africa and South America), although they have become naturalised here. In some countries, such as New Zealand, and some American states they are a declared weed or pest plant due to their ability to self-sow. Buddlejas are both male and female plants at the same time so do quite nicely at reproducing on their own. They make copious amounts of seeds from spent flower heads and grow readily in a wide range of soil types. Here it's too dry for them to become a problem.
With nearly 500 species/subspecies to choose from Grevillea are a plant of plenty in so many ways and one of my favourites. From Grevillea Robusta (Silky Oak) - the tallest of the genus, fast growing up to 35m and with orange flowers - to ground covers, such as Poorinda Royal Mantle or Bronze Rambler, there's a Grevillea for most situations.
While in the garden the other day I heard the New Holland group making an almighty row and I saw that they were aggressively driving a Little Wattlebird away from where they were feeding. There was one Pincushion Hakea in flower but the main nectar that they were defending was that of the correa pulchella. There are three species of Correa - also known as Native Fuchsia - here, all native to South Australia, and they are easily grown, undemanding and generous flowerers and a boon to insects and birds.
Very glad to have inherited this tree, which has attained its maximum height of around 10 metres and forms part of mature plantings in front of verandah (formerly LW territory). Have chosen to feature this species as, apart from being visually splendid, it has some interesting adaptations that enable it to grow in very poor soil, survive long periods without water and live happily along the coast.
A very useful and attractive shrub to tall tree, the silver banksia - B. marginata - occurs naturally throughout south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, and here it grows wild in many areas, providing a valuable food resource for honeyeaters, especially the New Hollands, insects and insectivorous birds.
Native to the south-east of Australia, the top of Tassie and to New Zealand (where it is commonly known as poroporo or NZ nightshade), the Kangaroo Apple (solanum laciniatum) is an interesting plant with diverse uses in medicine. As well as it being bush tucker, Aboriginal use of the plant employs its natural anti-inflammatory steroidal properties, these also being used in western medicine to produce steroids and as an ingredient in contraceptive pills. The Kangaroo Apple is in the deadly nightshade family, along with many other foods that have toxic qualities, such as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants (to which they are closely related) .
January - Grass Tree
February - Kangaroo Apple
March - Silver Banksia
April - Drooping Sheoak
May - Correa
June - Grevillea
July - Buddleja
August - Sundews
September - Native Hibiscus
October - Running Postman