Better known as the New South Wales Christmas Bush.
Towards the end of December this hardy and reliable plant puts on a great display of red ‘flowers’ that I admire so much – however all is not what it seems. The true flowers are white in colour and fairly insignificant and are seen in late spring to early November. After pollination by flies and native bees, the sepals, which are the outer series or whorl of flora leaves that protect the flower bud, enlarge and turn deep pink to red in colour enclosing the fruit, a single seed, a nut and the whole fall when ripe. When sowing, the whole fruit with calyx lobes attached should be sown for best results.
So I guess maybe the display I noted in West Wollongong this morning is not all that premature after all.
In December 2010: