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Holly and mistletoe are hard to find in Australia when Christmas comes around, being out of season, so native plants are often used for decoration instead. Native floral arrangements have become a tradition of sorts in many Australian households around Christmas time. Certain plants in Australia which have been fondly named 'Christmas Bush'. Some are named so due to the way they come into bloom in December, and others because of their stunning red flowers which stand against brilliant green foliage. However when a person speaks of 'Christmas Bush' in Australia the variety they are talking about depends on their location.

Ceratopetalum gummiferum Cunoniaceae (New South Wales Christmas Bush)

The NSW Christmas Bush is a small tree, which is native of coastal New South Wales. It has small serrated leaves which are surrounded by tiny star-shaped blossoms in spring. In summer these cream flowers swell into bright red calyces. This variety is the most common in Australia. It can be propagated by seed or cutting, has become an important cultivated flower, and is often used in wild flower remedies and essential oils.

Prostanthera lasianthos Lamiaceae (Victorian Christmas Bush)

The Victorian Christmas Bush is a shrub, which can be found growing native along the east coast of Australia. It has oval shaped leaves, which are surrounded by sprays of white, pink, or mauve blossoms in summer.

Bursaria spinosa Pittosporaceae (South Australian Christmas Bush)

The South Australian Christmas Bush is an erect, thorny shrub, which often grows to 3 meters. It has dark, shiny leaves, which are surrounded by masses of white flowers in late spring and summer. Once the flowers die, they are replaced by small brown fruit.

Chromolaena ordorata (Darwin Christmas Bush or Siam Weed)

The Darwin Christmas Bush is native to the West Indies, but has spread to other tropical areas and now grows wild along the northern coast of Australia. It thrives in full sun, and is covered in white and lilac flowers in summer.

Nuytsia floribunda Loranthaceae (Western Australian Christmas Bush)

The Western Australian Christmas Bush is a parasitic tree is found only in the south west of Australia. It is covered with masses of golden yellow flowers during summer. Reliant partly on host plants for nutrition, the roots of this species cause havoc in gardens, and with underground cabling.

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it is creeping slowly closer to christmas in july here... the nights are frosty, and soon the holly and mistletoe will begin to bloom.


facts double checked with help from:
The Australian Gardening Encyclopedia
The Private Life Of Plants

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