Telopea speciosissima (Sm.) R.Br.


Shrub to about 3 m tall. Leaves narrowly obovate to spoon-shaped, mostly 10-25 cm long, 2-6.5 cm wide, both surfaces with raised veins; margins toothed, occasionally entire. Flower heads dense, broad at the base and with over 100 flowers, opening from the base, the bracts mostly 5-9 cm long and bright red. Fruit 9-14 cm long.

This is the NSW floral emblem.

White flowers are occasionally encountered and the one below has been selected for horticulture.


T. 'Cardinal' Robust shrub about 3 m by 3 m, prolifically flowering, with 100-120 blooms per plant; frost- and drought-resistant. Flowers red, domed and with to 210 florets. Bracts in 2 whorls, dark red, extending 2 cm beyond the flower; midto late Sept. Found on the property of Lucelle Pope, Werombi, NSW, in the 1950s and selected for cultivation by Paul Nixon, the original plant lasting about 39 years. A good cut flower. PVJ 10(3)55.

T.  'Fire And Brimstone' Habit robust, to about 2 m tall and 1 m wide, vigorous. Leaves to 4.5 cm long with medium-sized teeth. Flowers in cone-shaped cluster of up to 240 florets. Bracts triangular, in 2 whorls and clasping. Petals and styles pale to medium red, the stigmas tipped white. Selected by Paul Nixon from the wild near Kangaloon, NSW, in 1983. Frost-resistant and an excellent cut flower. PVJ 10(3)55.

T. 'Sunburst' Strong growth with flowers pure red in a neat formal shape, the bracts, styles and florets all RHS46C (colour), the long flower heads with long, flared bracts and flowers mid- to late season. Bred by the University of Sydney, NSW. Syn. 'Olympic Flame' PVJ 5(2)5. Also T. 'Sunflare' PVJ 5(2)5.

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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Distribution map

Telopea speciosissima 'Wirrimbirra White'

Shrub 2-3 m tall, 1-2 m wide. Buds bright green, opening to white flowers with creamy green bracts. Int. Thistle y. Stead after its discovery in 1970 at Kangaloon, nsw, and cuttings taken in 1972.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Proteanae
order      Proteales
family       Proteaceae
genus        Telopea R.Br.