Although there are around 40 species of Kunzea, it is Spearwood, or Kunzea ericifolia that is often used in floristry. The Kunzea genus is part of the Myrtaceae or Myrtle family, which includes Eucalyptus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca and Myrtle. A common feature of this family of plants is that their foliage contains aromatic oils, which is also the case with Kunzea ericifolia.
Kunzea ericifolia flowers in August and will continue through to October, making it a great choice for spring arrangements. Its flowers range in colour from white to yellow, and the prominent stamen give them an appearance similar to gum flowers. These fluffy yellow balls sit at the end of the branches and have a pleasant perfume. Kunzea make an excellent addition to any arrangement, particularly when you would like a gum style of flower, but with more erect stems and foliage.
The flowers of Kunzea ericifolia don't last long, so choose branches with unopened flowers and nice green foliage. This foliage will last a lot longer than the flowers and is also aromatic.
Kunzeas make an excellent addition in the garden. Although Kunzea ericifolia grows best in the southwestern part of the country, others such as Kunzea capitata grow well in the eastern states, especially in New South Wales, to which it's endemic. Kunzea capitata, also known as Pink Kunzea, has fluffy pink or purple flowers, and is quite stunning when in bloom.
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