Australian Plants and Flowers, Nature
Comments 6

Kangaroo Paws – Botanical wonders of New Holland

Evergreen Kangaroo Paw Anigozanthos flavidus d'Entrecasteaux National Park

When French naturalist Jacques Labillardière visited New Holland (Australia) in 1792 under the command of Antoine Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, the foundations were laid for what became the most extensive collection of Australian flora of its day and age. Especially his collections from southwest Australia produced numerous new species amongst which the ones from the genus of Anigozanthos, better known as Kangaroo Paws. His discoveries are described in the Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen, a masterpiece of botanical science and art.

Red and Green Kangaroo Paw Anigozanthos Manglesii Lesueur National Park

I clearly remember my own amazement when I first saw those wonderful plants with their tubular flowers, dense hairs and claw-like structures. No wonder the State Government named the striking Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) as WA’s floral emblem in 1960, after which it was incorporated in the State Coat of Arms. Although this species is the best known and most famous of all Kangaroo Paws, the tall Evergreen Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus) and the much smaller Cat’s Paw (Anigozanthos humilis) are equally remarkable and spectacular.

Cat's Paw Anigozanthos humilis Lesueur National Park

Evergreen Kangaroo Paw Anigozanthos Flavidus d'Entrecasteaux National Park

6 Comments

  1. I swear things in Australia and Madagascar are truly otherworldly; Do these grow as singular stalks?

    I wonder how a field of these plants would look like.

    • You’re totally right, things are otherworldly – both Australia and Madagascar started to drift away from the Gondwana landmass around 90 million years ago and remained isolated ever after; many plants and mammals are therefore unique. They do grow on singular stalks – easy to cut and therefore a very popular plant for florists all over the world 🙂

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