The Coast Rosemary is July's plant of the month.
Coastal or Native Rosemary
Botanical Name: Westringia fruticosa
The Lamiaceae are a family of flowering plants commonly known as the mint, deadnettle, or sage family. Many of these plants are aromatic and used as culinary or medicinal herbs.
Habitat and Distribution
Westringia grows wild near the coast of New South Wales. The plant tolerates a variety of soils and is often found on exposed cliffs next to the ocean.
Tough and hardy, the foliage is a dark green with a covering of short hairs on young tip growth and leaf undersides giving it a silvery tint adding to its attractiveness. Leaves are up to 2 centimetres long, narrow and pointed and set closely in whorls around the stem. The name 'Rosemary' refers to the appearance of the plant only, as the leaves do not have the familiar aroma.
The flowers are 2 centimetres across set round the stems in the axils of the leaves. The shape resembles other flowers of the mint family. Flowers are from white to pale mauve with reddish and yellow brown spots near the throat. The throat is long and narrow which suggests it is pollinated by moths.
Though the shrub is never smothered in flowers, they are conspicuous against the dark foliage and are seen most months of the year except in extreme heat or cold.
Westringia is popular in landscape cultivation due to its continual flowering. The plant attracts the rare Rayed Blue Butterflies (Candalides heathi heathi ) and provides needed shelter for small birds.
Where to see the Coast Rosemary in Centennial Parklands
Southern side of the Guriwal Trail. Map Ref: O8