Plant of the Month – November


 (Prostanthera aspalathoides)


(Photos: E. Cousins; scarlet mint bush and sticky goodenia, at COOTS site, Lands End; a single flower)

This compact shrub grows up to a metre tall, and flowers from July to December.

The common name for Prostanthera aspalathoides is actually the scarlet mint bush, but amazingly, this local form from the Rapid Bay area has flowers which are a pretty shade of mauve, not scarlet!  Many references will tell you the flower colour ranges from red to orange, sometimes yellow or white… not mauve. However, it has definitely been classified by the SA Herbarium as being this subspecies. Native plant expert Ron Taylor tells us the main keys which allow the species to be separated from other mint bushes are the shape of the flower, the hairs on branches and leaves, the leaves themselves and the length of the calyx (the green sepals that encase the base of the flower; 5-7mm long).

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