I happened to remark to someone recently that the Christmas trees were not carrying many flowers this year for some reason. That, compared to other years, they were looking downright dowdy.
Turns out they were not sure what I was talking about and they were visualising the ‘traditional’ Xmas tree—which doesn’t really have flowers.
So I had to do a couple of quick Google searches and show them what a Western Australian Christmas tree looked like and I thought I might just quickly share this for the benefit of my overseas readers and also for any Australian or Western Australian readers who were not/are not aware what such a tree looks like.
Apart from the fact that the trees themselves are out of focus and therefore somewhat blurry, following is a great example of the Western Australian Christmas tree that I found on the Web.
I was going to try and take a couple of pictures myself and have been keeping my eye out for a good example to photograph, but really, as I pointed out above, this year the Christmas trees are looking a little down and out. The blooms are small and they are not glowing bright, almost neon, orange as they usually do.
Some people I have mentioned this to think it is because we have had a relatively cool lead up to Christmas this year. The thinking being that the Christmas tree needs several days of typical WA 35+ degrees (centigrade) of heat to get it to really bloom and light up.
According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge as Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak refer to it on their No Agenda podcasts) the scientific name for this tree is nuytsia floribunda and it is found only in Western Australia.
[The image above links to the Wikipedia page]
On Wikipedia they say that it displays bright orange flowers at Christmas time. Based on my many recent outings trying to find some good examples to photograph they should probably add in the caveat “if the lead up to Christmas is hot enough”.
Anyway so now you know. Should anyone ask you about a Western Australian Christmas tree, or talk about one in general conversation, you will know exactly what they are talking about.
Probably not a good idea to try and dig one up and put it in the living room but. Firstly I think they are protected, which would make digging one up illegal. Secondly they are parasitic and use their roots to get most of their nutrients from a host plant so you would need to dig the host plant up and put it in your living room as well.