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26 Mar 2019

A sea of dark purple blooms

When you think of autumn colours and changing foliage, visions of striking burnt-oranges, rusty reds and vibrant yellows normally come to mind. There is also a spectacular shade of purple to add to the patchwork of colour that can be seen in Centennial Parklands during this time. The Tibouchina trees are adding a pop of colour to the Park and they are as vibrant as ever. 

So, what exactly is a Tibouchina?

Tibouchina blooms rival the iconic and unmistakable lavender-purple blossoms of a Jacaranda that are seen across Sydney during summer. 

Like the Jacaranda, the small evergreen tree is native to South America and are typically five metres tall, but can also be trained as a shrub.

Tibouchina “Alstonville” (the species found in the Park) carries the name of the north coast NSW town where it was bred by tibouchina enthusiast Ken Dunstan, who was one of the first Australians to appreciate the potential of these plants. 

They are best suited to temperate and sub-tropical climates and prefer a well drained, slightly acidic soil and benefit from adequate watering in the growing season, and tolerate full sun.

tibouchina, purple glory
Tibouchina is also known as "Brazilian spider flower" because the prominent stamens resemble the legs of a spider.

Where can I see the Tibouchinas?

The Tibouchinas are planted within the circular beds of the Column Garden, where it creates a contrast with the seasonal annual displays, before becoming a feature itself in the autumn months. 

tibouchina, purple glory, centennial park
Tibouchina has thin, smooth, light grey bark.

The best news...

The large and showy flowers have pronounced anthers which attract native bees.

If you like them, you may be happy to hear that they can be planted openly in a garden or a planter box. 

tibouchina, purple glory, sydney, centennial parklands
Have you noticed the Tibouchina in flower right now?  

Find out more information on Tibouchinas in the Park here.

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