Friday, July 10, 2009

Howittia trilocularis

Howittia trilocularis | Blue Howittia

Howittia is a monotypic genus that is closely related to another monotypic Australian genus, Lagunaria (listed below). Howittia trilocularis is a large shrub that can reach 3m in height. The 25mm flowers range in color from lavender to mauve, and are borne in late spring and summer. The natural distribution of Howittia trilocularis is coastal New South Wales, coastal eastern Victoria and a small region of western Victoria, extending into the south eastern part of South Australia, where it can be found in wet forests. Howittia trilocularis prefers a moist, well-drained soil in a semi-shaded location. It will also grow in full sun but roots should be kept cool by mulching the root zone. It tolerates some frost but grows better (and looks better) in a frost free area. I will post a photo as soon as one of my plants blooms.

Historical Information: Howittia was named after Dr Godfrey Howitt (fl. 1855), a Melbourne physician interested in botany. Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller first formally described the species in 1855, from a specimen which was found growing on "bushy declivities around Lake King".

Historical Reference: Howittia trilocularis —A flexile shrub, grows twenty feet high; belongs to the Malvaceae; the flowers are of a purple colour; very pretty, and merits a place in every shrubbery.

   The Floricultural Cabinet, and Florists Magazine
   by Joseph Harrison
   Publisher Whitaker & Co., 1856