The environment around Sydney, Australia, offers dry growing conditions, due to extremely sandy soil which does not have the ability to retain water. The area suffers from regular brush fires that quickly vaporize nutrients such as phosphorus from the soil. The harsh conditions produce tough native plants that can handle low water, nutrient-poor soil and also withstand the regular foraging of wildlife.
Flannel flowers (Actinotus) grow in abundance around Sydney. The plant grows between 3 to 4 feet in height. Its foliage is a soft green color and velvety to the touch. Blossoms are white, daisy-like in appearance and measure up to 3 inches across. The petals are soft and often compared to flannel in texture. Flowering occurs each spring.
The plant is protected around the Sydney area. Flannel flowers should not be picked or dug up. The plant is also cultivated in private gardens. It prefers a sunny location with well-draining soil.
The tea tree (Leptospermum flavescens) received its name when early settlers to the Sydney area boiled the plant to make tea to combat scurvy, which settlers often acquired during the long boat trip to Australia. A common landscape shrub around Sydney, the tea tree grows in a rounding bush form. Although an evergreen, during the spring the shrub often attains a yellowish color to its small, needle-like foliage. It produces arching cascades of tiny white blossoms each spring. The shrub requires at least eight hours of sunlight per day to thrive and it does not tolerate excessive water well.
The mountain devil (Lambertia formosa) produces unique seed pods that sport tiny horns, which gives the seeds the appearance of being a devil's head. It grows between 3 to 6 feet in height. The foliage has a needle-like appearance. During the winter and spring the shrub produces tubular red flowers that are adored by bees and hummingbirds. When the area sustains a brush fire the mountain devil recovers quickly and grows back from its deep root system. Plant the mountain devil in partial shade, as the shrub does not tolerate full sunlight well.
The trigger plant (Stylidium) produces small pink and purple flowers that look like tiny butterflies clinging to the plant. A carnivorous plant, when an unsuspecting insect lands within the petals of the plant, it quickly snaps shut to consume the meal.
The plant grows a little over 5 feet in height. The plant forms a rosette of foliage at its base with long flower stems which hold the enticing trap blossom upright to lure in insect prey. Trigger plants can be found growing along creeks, rocky outcrops, forestland and sandy areas.