19 Sep 2016

The Elusive Wreath Flower

In the winter of 1993, when Grandma C and I enjoyed our long-service leave, we took a driving and camping trip to the far north of Western Australia, driving up via the long coastal road till we reached Kununurra, near the Northern Territory border.

It was on our way home, driving down the inland road, that we first heard of the Wreath Flower.

By that time it was spring, and the wildflowers were blooming all along the way.  We had stopped for the night at Ninghan Station, and the lady proprietress there told us about this flower, which had bloomed then for the first time in many years.

As we left for our drive home the next morning, she gave us directions to where the wreath flowers were, but to the best of our efforts we failed to find them.

About four weeks ago, I happened to see on TV that these wreath flowers were blooming again, after our very rainy and cold winter (in fact, that winter was supposed to be our coldest in 22 years!).  Furthermore, the TV show added that we were having a bumper season of wildflowers in our mid-west.
Western Australia Regions
Grandma C said that it was high time I got off my bum and we take a drive up to see the wreath flower.

So last week, we took off in search of this flower again (after 23 years!).  Our target was the tiny town of Pindar in the Mid-West, which I planned to reach on the second day of our trip, as that was where the TV show said the wreath flowers were.
Canola fields near Moora
Grandma C, however, had done some research and had other plans, unbeknownst to me.  At one of our rest stops at the town of Perenjori, she rushed off into the tourist office.
Wattles blooming in Perenjori
She came out with specific directions for me to drive to and we spent time searching for what I thought was some patch of wildflowers.
Searching, searching - a little lost at times
After a few false starts, we found it.  I was surprised, as I didn't know Grandma C's intention at all.
The Wreath Flower
We had to drive up a rather rough track and then reached a home made sign proclaiming the existence of these flowers.  There was a whole clump of them, all in one patch of red earth.

Top view, Wreath Flower
I would say, that on average, they'd be about 40-60 cm in diameter.  They are reputed to be difficult to grow from seed, or to transplant and often the only way to view them is to search them out in the wild.
Side view, with wattles in the background
Sometimes they merge into figures of eight.
Some close-ups follow:

 It was just as well that Grandma C had taken steps to find this place, as the next day, when we finally got to Pindar and found the wreath flowers there, the flowers were already well past their prime, and not as pretty as the ones we saw near Perenjori.
Wreath flowers growing beside a dirt road near Pindar
These have started to fade away.
I cannot finish without showing you my favourite sight in Pindar, serviced as it is by quite a few of these dirt roads, with their fine red dust.
I wonder how many will


  1. Like your car number plate!!!

    1. That is a story in itself. My sons, aided and abetted by Grandma C, took the registrations papers and changed the license plates without me knowing. No way would I have agreed to that. Now I get strangers laughing at me when I drive around.

  2. It's a fantastic plant phenomena to grow flowers that appear only at the periphery of the colony making it look like a wreath! I tried to find out the botanical name and it's Lechenaultia is a genus of about 30 species of small, shrubby or herbaceous plants. Most are found in Western Australia. The best known is L.biloba, the blue lechenaultia which is commonly cultivated in many areas of Australia. Here's a couple of other sites on wreath plants: http://www.jammychicken.com/2012/10/wreath-flowers-western-australia.html and http://anpsa.org.au/l-macr.html

    1. Thanks for the links, Dr Doughlittle. Glad to have piqued your interest. The blue lechenaultia is quite common in Perth.

  3. You mean they grow in the shape of a wreath like that? Wowwwww!!!! That's amazing! Something I sure would love to get the chance to see.

    Here. when people talk about wreath flower - it's the frangipani, most commonly used for making wreaths. That is why it is not favoured by most Chinese...but not at Payung - you will see it used for their decor. Another post on the place coming up soon and you will get to see those blooms.

    1. Yes, the flower grows into the circular shape naturally. It is quite amazing and we're glad to have finally found it.

  4. Ohhhhhh such a fabulous scenery and such a pleasant travel diary 😀

    1. Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.