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Zones 8, 9, 13-24
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Moderate, Minimal

Eremophila maculata

Spotted Emu Bush
Scrophulariaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

EREMOPHILA

Of the more than 200 species of these Australian shrubs, just a few are grown in warmer parts of California and the Southwest. All tolerate aridity, heat, wind, and poor soil but like good drainage. All have slender stems that change direction abruptly and interlace to form dense growth. Some may become leggy, but all respond well to pruning. The common name comes from the flightless bird that eats the small fruits of some species. In North America, fruits are food for many birds and animals. Hummingbirds visit the flowers.

Eremophila maculata

Most widely grown type occurs naturally on flood plains and is more tolerant of moisture and humidity than other species. Variable in habit. Most forms grow to 3 ft. tall and twice as wide, but some are much larger. Narrow leaves are often hairy when young. Heavy winter and spring crop of flowers, with a scattering at other times of year. Blossoms are 1–2 in. long and come in dark red, yellow, orange, or pink, often with dark spotting inside. ‘Aurea’ has lighter green leaves and bears 1-in.-long, unspotted yellow flowers; it grows 3–6 ft. tall and to 10 ft. wide with irrigation. ‘Valentine’ may freeze to the ground in Zones 11 and 12 but will recover. Upright growth 4–5 ft. tall and 5–6 ft. wide. Brilliant rose-red, 1-in.-long blossoms in late winter almost hide the foliage. Leaves have a purplish cast that makes this shrub particularly handsome even when out of bloom.

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