Botany Photo of the Day
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Telopea speciosissima 'Wirrimbirra White'

Telopea speciosissima 'Wirrimbirra White'

A thank you again to Margaret Morgan of Sydney, Australia for sharing her photographs. If you didn't visit her web site when she previously submitted a photograph, here it is again: Margaret Morgan. Thanks, Margaret!

I'm away on a short vacation, so only the photograph and a couple links today. Margaret suggested this link about the species Telopea speciosissima: the Floral Emblem of New South Wales. Information about the cultivar can be found on the site of the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority: Telopea speciosissima 'Wirrimbirra White'.


Part of me wishes I'd waited a day or two before taking this photo before individual flowers had opened, but a waratah never looks as perfect as when they're still closed and uniform and full of promise. Or maybe that's rationlisation.

I worry sometimes that my photos don't convey size appropriately. This flower was 14mm/5.5 inch in diameter. Is it any wonder that Telopea caught the attention of the first Europeans in my part of the world?

It's a lovely photo, Margaret and I look forward to seeing photos of the blossom as the flowers open. Maybe on your website? I love your pond pages, btw. Nicely done and inspiring.

Flickr has 455 pictures labelled waratah or Telopea, including a few with open flowers, but none of them white.

There are also several Proteas and Banksias labelled waratah. Do Aussies use the term for all Proteaceae?

Perhaps Daniel can tell us which European gave it the superlative name "most beautiful".

Waratah is only used for Telopea species, anything else is mislabelled, probably because seeing Waratahs in flower is not common so people see a large red flower and assume it is a waratah. At least one waratah photo on Flickr is a Gymea lily.

The white version of speciosissima is very rare in the wild, supposedly growing in only one location.

Really lovely flower - and a beautiful photo.

Maureen, sorry--I didn't get to take any photos when the buds were fully opened, and now they're finished. (Thanks, re the website! My regret though is that Googlepages only allows 100 images, and I've reached my limit. I wish I'd known before I started.)

Ken's right, Max. If people call banksias and other Proteaceae "waratahs" or "Telopea", they're just plain wrong.

Van: thanks!

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