Telopea R.Br.


Greek telopos— seen from afar, referring to the conspicuous red inflorescences.

Small trees or shrubs, often with lignotubers. Leaves alternate, simple, stalked; margins entire, toothed or lobed. Flower cluster terminal in a dense round or ovoid head with reddish bracts that are eventually shed. Flowers irregular, in pairs. Tepals red, slit by the long, curved style along the outer edge. Fruit a follicle containing two rows of seeds, each flat and with a terminal wing.

Grown for the highly ornamental flowers, T. speciosissima being an important cut flower.

5 species from SE Australia.

Seed. Cultivars by cuttings.

Flower clusters generally dense and showy, mostly red.

OPCAA collection held at Karwarra Australian Plant Garden, Dandenongs, Vic. In November 1997 this contained 14 different kinds, including all 5 species.

Armstrong (1987). Popular: Nixon (1987).

Source: Spencer, R.; Molyneux, B.; Mathews, D. (2002). Proteaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Cultivars of hybrid origin

Telopea 'Braidwood Brilliant'

Compact hardy shrub to 3 m tall. Flowers bright red, intermediate between those of the parents, 6-8 cm wide. Manipulated hybrid performed by Dr R.W. Boden between T. speciosissima (male) and T. mongaensi (female).

Telopea 'Dreaming'

Upright shrub 2-3 m tall with grey-green foliage. Heads of pink flowers in spring. Popular cut flower. A cross, T. mongaensis × T. speciosissima, but backcrossed with deep red T. speciosissima by Brian Fitzpatrick of Windsor, Vic, in the late 1980s.

Telopea 'Fire N Ice'

 Medium shrub 2-3 m tall. Foliage glossy and unusually sinuate. Flower heads deep red, globular with contrasting white stigma tips and outer rims of the floral tubes, giving the appearance of snow. Flowers late season. Parentage unknown. Bred by Roy Rother, Emerald, Vic, 1995, later given to Dr Graeme Downe, Endeavour Hills, Vic, and a plant donated to the George Tindale Memorial Gds, Sherbrooke.Valuable cut flower.

Telopea 'Shady Lady'

Large shrub to 3 m tall. Leaves broad. Flowers prolific, red; spring. Popular cut flower.a T. oreades × T. speciossima selection grown from seed obtained from a flower grower by Peter Mathews in the early 1970s.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Proteanae
order      Proteales
family       Proteaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Telopea oreades F.Muell.
species         Telopea speciosissima (Sm.) R.Br.