One of the old faithful garden shrubs is the diosma, with which seemingly no gardener can go wrong. It grows as a round tidy plant with masses of pink flowers in late winter and spring. It will grow in all but the most tropical and humid parts of Australia. Although its common name is most often diosma it is also known as confetti bush and breath of heaven.
Its botanic name is Coleonema pulchellum (or Coleonema pulchrum) and the plant is in the Rutaceae family. The genus name Coleonema is taken from a Greek term describing the base of the petals. The species name pulchellum means beautiful and small.
The species has pink flowers and tall growth. It will reach around 2m. The leaves of the plant are fragrant when rubbed and smell a little of sweet pine. There are various cultivars available including:
‘Compactum’ – a dwarf pink flowered form growing to 1m, which is also sold as ‘Nanum’;
‘Rubrum’ – a red flowered diosma (also sold as Red Form);
and ‘Sunset Gold’ – a dwarf golden foliage form growing to 75cm. This form has its best colour in summer and autumn when grown in full sun.
In addition a white flowered diosma, Coleonema album, is also available. This plant grows to about 1.5m tall with a spread of about 1.8m.
Diosma best grows in warm areas but will grow in most parts of Australia except the tropics. In humid summers it can be affected by fungal problems. In very cold areas such as mountain districts this plant will need a warm, sheltered micro-climate for best growth. It is native to the Cape Province of South Africa.
The butterfly is the Australian Painted Lady, Vanessa kershawi, in the Nymphalidae family, which is the largest family of butterflies with about 6,000 species distributed throughout most of the world. These are usually medium-sized to large butterflies.
This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.
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