Though much of Australia is covered by arid desert, known as the outback, the continent also encompasses a range of environments, from wetlands and woodlands to tropical and subtropical rain forests. The country is home to a stunning array of plant life, and gardeners who are looking for unique native shrubs to plant will have little trouble finding an attractive variety.
Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is a genus of 34 species of shrubs, almost all of which are native to Australia. Bottlebrush shrubs exhibit distinct fluffy red, pink or white flowers in the spring and early summer. Popular nursery varieties include the tall growing Wildfire (Callistemon viminalis), which has particularly blood red flowers, and the Rose Opal (Callistemon viminalis), a dwarf variety. Bottlebrushes are typically found in temperate regions in Australia such as the Southwest and the East coast.
All species in the Hovea genus are native to Australia. These perennial shrubs are commonly grown in the garden, as well as seen out in nature. The Thorny Hovea (Hovea acanthoclada) is a prickly Hovea that produces brilliant purple flowers that are almost orchid-like in appearance. These plants grow on rocky slopes throughout Western Australia in sandy, clay heavy soils. The Common Hovea (Hovea linearis) is a similar looking shrub that can be found all over Australia, from South Australia to Tasmania.
Wattle (Acacia) is a genus of thorny shrubs and trees. The majority of Wattle species are native to Australia, with a few others spread out into East Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Most species produce clusters of yellow or cream colored flowers. Notable varieties include the Knobthorn Acacia (Acacia nigricans), a common plant in Western Australia that produces large circular flowers, and the Weeping Myall (Acacia pendula), a Wattle found throughout the continent that has willow like leaves and small pale yellow flowers. Wattle shrubs are sometimes used as food sources by Ghost Moths, moths of the Hepialidae family which burrows into the trunk.