The plant every native garden should have: Lambertia formosa

Every garden should have a specimen of this reliable plant

That’s what Wriggly and Fagg have to say about the much loved Mountain Devil and I couldn’t agree more with the authors of the legendary ‘Australian Native Plants’ bible.


Lambertia formosa is a common under storey shrub growing 1 to 2 metres high and about the same wide, its common name is the the Mountain Devil due to the way the old flowers turn into knarly little devil like faces with large horns. These flowers used to often be made into the heads of Devils and then attached to pipe cleaner bodies in much the same way the Big Bad Banksia Man was created out of Banksia serrata flowers.


In the image above you can see a wonderful specimen of Lambertia formosa growing on a sand stone outcrop in Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens, this is quite an exposed position to both sun and frost but the mountain devil doesn’t mind 😉


I have seen two quite different forms of Lambertia formosa for sale in nurseries, to my knowledge this one is from the southern parts of Sydney the other from the north. One has a distinctly short, hairy leaf and the other a dark green, almost glossy long leaf, to my knowledge the flowers are the same.


Lambertia formosa grows best on a well drained sandstone based soil but will tolerate a heavier soil as long as it doe not become water logged. Lambertia formosa has a lignotuber (which it regenerates from after bushfires), meaning it can be pruned quite hard and this hard prune may encourage more flowers. The flowers are attractive to honeyeaters and rosellas. Right I am off to find a spot in my garden to grow one!

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