This showy small to medium tropical tree was flowering its head off on my recent trip to Brisbane and northern NSW. It was such a welcome sight after the damp, soggy Summer we have had, finally a species revelling in all the rain!
Xanthostemon chrysanthus is also known as ‘Golden Penda’ and comes in a large shrub form named ‘Expo Gold’ which gets to a height of around 4-5 metres high and a smaller shrub ‘Little Penda’ which grows from 2-4m high.
The right yellow flowers are attractive to all nectar feeding birds and insects and are followed by large fruits which are again eaten by parrots and fruit doves.
Golden Penda is a rainforest tree and in its natural habitat in northern Qld it can reach unto 40m high, however in an urban environment it will usually max out at around 8-10 metres. It can be pruned heavily and turned into a dense topiary or hedging plant and to generally promote flowering.
I spotted this tree everywhere in and around Brisbane, it is used as a shade and screening tree in residential gardens as seen above. A habitat tree in parklands and as a street tree all abut town.
Golden Penda enjoys a warm humid environment with a moist well drained soil, as it grows naturally in northern QLD it thrives in a rainforest environment. It can be grown as far south as Wollongong as long as it is protected from cold drying winds and given plenty of water during a dry period.
This is a wonderful feature tree and copes well with shade, as our seasons are becoming more moist and we are no longer getting the cool evenings which can usually be expected in the Autumn months, I think some of these tropical trees may become quite viable solutions for NSW gardens.
Think of Buckinghamia celsissima, Stenocarpus sinuatus and Alloxylon flammeum they all grow up north and cope quite well around Sydney. It may be time to start rethinking some of our trees considering the rapidly changing climate, just a thought 😉