CORREA; THE AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FUCHSIA

Correa was named for the Portuguese botanist Correia da Serra. Of all the native flowers in my Blue Mountain gardens, it is one of the most visited by birds. Eastern Spinebills and  New Holland Honey Eaters adore  the nectar, and so do the  bees. Pictured below is Correa pulchella.

Correa alba and bee

This looks inviting.

 

Bee on correa

Creeping inside for a little sip.

The tubular flowers are perfectly designed for the long, curved beak of the Eastern Spinebill.

Eastern spinebill feeding on correa.

 

Its easy to see why these shrubs  are often dubbed Native Fuchsia. Both have  little pollen sacs extending from the bloom. They are brushed against by bees and the spinebills as they reach for the nectar.

Eastern spinebill feeding on fuchsia nectar

Spinebill feeding on ‘real’ fuchsia, but that beak is perfect for correa.

Crimson rosellas eat the whole flower. Just outside my kitchen window is a tall, mountain correa, which they adore. The botanical name is Correa lawreceana x cordifolia. Mine is about 2 metres high and was planted as a seedling about ten years ago.  It has thinned out a bit this year, which is a worry. I might have to buy a new one as an insurance policy.

 

Correa lawrenciana

Tee correa.

 

Crimson rosella eating a correa flower

A tasty treat.

And yes, tree correa  is just as appealing to the king parrots. Hey, leave some the honey eaters please.

King parrot in mountain correa.

Bliss

Correa alba is a smaller variety that  responds well to clipping if you want a dense shrub.  I have it growing behind a bird bath outside my bedroom window. It’s perfect for little thornbills and blue wrens to hide in.

Bird cover; and often a  crimson rosella’s  breakfast.

The flowers of this variety have a different, more open shape. Instead of being tubular the petals are split into four. They  look a bit like stars. A great feature is that they flower in autumn and winter. The tiny, cinnamon coloured buds are a bonus.

Correa

 

A rosella we call  Blue Flash  loves to breakfast on the blooms. That  blob of pink  bottom left is a  different correa  flower, carried in from somewhere else.

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella stealing more correa flowers

The variety below is C. Dusky Pink. What a beauty.

Dusky pink Correa

Dusky pink

C. pulchella  forms a dense mound only 30-40cm  high. The flowers are  a striking, orange colour.

Correa Pulchella

So pretty.

This new variety is worth buying for the name alone; another low growing, winter flowering shrub for the understorey.

Correa ring-a-ding ding

 

Here is a variety I don’t have, but wish I did. For good reason its common name is Chef’s Hat.

 

Correa known as Chef's Cap

Here is another one  I’ve just bought. This  is a tall form of a variety called C. reflexa.  It should reach a height of about two metres.

 

Correa reflexa

Autumn gift for the birds.

 

In December  I use the flowers for a very special purpose;  as ornaments for my Australian native, miniature Christmas tree. The little ‘tree’ pictured below is lycopodium, the most fascinating plant imaginable. It’s as ancient as the dinasaurs and found in very few places.

 

Lycopodium with correa alba ornaments as a Christmas tree.

Correa alba as miniature Christmas tree ornaments on lycopodium.

What a wonderfully hardy plant; drought and frost tolerant. It even survives snow here in Blackheath.  It will flower well in partial shade, but does like a well drained soil. You can never have too many in my opinion, and the birds agree.

Autumn is planting time in Blackheath NSW

A few more go in.Here is another native favourite of mine; just as hardy and just as bird attracting. THE BANKSIA SERRATA

 

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3 Comments
  1. Corneas are one of my all-time favorites too. Beautiful to look at and I love how they attract so many birds.

  2. That was a lovely botanical tour of the different flowering Corneas. Some of them are just so unusual. I love your idea of one variety being used for a Christmas tree. I think that Blackheath must be a paradise for birds to be able to retain their eating of natural food. We don’t see as many bees anymore and some say that the use of pesticides or insecticides have taken a significant toll on their numbers.

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