Isopogon formosus

This photograph is from the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum, taken during my spring trip. I was a few days early to catch this rose cone flower or drumstick plant in full bloom, but was still attracted by it enough to take a photograph. Drumstick plant refers to the globular fruiting heads found on the ends of this shrub’s branches (photograph).

Native to southwestern Australia, this is one of about thirty species in the genus (all native to Australia). The Growing Native Plants guide for Isopogon formosus and the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants page on Isopogon formosus both contain excellent information about the species, particularly the cultivation. They also contain references to the etymology; it’s always worth repeating that formosus (and its variants) means “beautiful” (I wonder what a garden containing only plants with the epithet formosus would look like…).

A couple comments about the Arboretum at Santa Cruz. It has an excellent collection of southern hemisphere plants, particularly the Proteaceae (like today’s species) and conifers. I regret not taking many photographs of the conifers, but the weather wasn’t as predicted that day and the light was harsher than I was expecting. Do visit if you ever get the chance!

Isopogon formosus

10 responses to “Isopogon formosus”

  1. Rick

    Beautiful! Would you happen to have a horizontal photo of Isopogon formosus that you would be willing to share with me. I’d like to use it as a photo for my desk top. Many thanks.

  2. SIUSI

    um sonho de belo

  3. Jacqueline

    mmmmmmm … delicious!

  4. Andrea

    So now I’m wondering if formosan termites are the most beautiful termites?

  5. Eric in SF

    UC Santa Cruz Arboretum is one of the underappreciated botanical jewels of the Bay Area. Their conifer collection is stunning and they house the largest collection of Australian plants outside of Australia *and* the largest collection of Proteaceous plants outside of their native ranges.
    Here is a slideshow of all my shots from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum.

  6. Eric in SF

    Rick, here is a horizontal shot of today’s subject.

  7. Bob Wilson

    To answer Andrea’s question — I believe that Formosan termites are so named because they occur naturally on the island of Formosa (now called Taiwan) previously named Ilha Formosa which is Portuguese for beautiful island.

  8. Melanie Kinsey

    I have kept this plant alive in my garden (Victoria, Australia) for nearly two years now. No mean effort for a Western Australian plant in Victoria! It flowered okay last spring but due to a dry spring this year I am still waiting for it to flower. It’s covered with small tight buds that look like they won’t open until summer.

  9. A

    Marvelous Color!

  10. elizabeth a airhart

    this is a lovely start to the holidays
    we need lovely flowers and trees
    in this world of ours
    may we see your gardens this christmas

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