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Calothamnus rupestris, Cliff Net Bush, Mouse Ears

Calothamnus rupestris is known as the Cliff Net Bush or Mouse Ears. Net Bush is the common name applied to most Calothamnus.

Calothamnus rupestris is a medium, erect shrub that has reached a height of two metres with a similar spread in our cold climate garden.

Thin leaves are terete (circular in cross-section), three centimetres long, with a sharp point and crowded towards the ends of branches. Red flowers are carried in clusters on older wood in spring.

The flower clusters usually develop on one side of the stem. Honeyeaters are frequent visitors to the blooms. The fruits are large, egg-shaped with two prominent lobes giving the species its common name of Mouse Ears (see thumbnail).

Calothamnus rupestris is an ornamental species with large flowers and fruits. The Cliff Net Bush, in company with other Calothamnus species, does very well in our cold climate garden. Calothamnus rupestris prefers well drained situations and is happy in both full sun and partial shade. Perhaps the Cliff Net Bush is best grown away from paths as the foliage is a trifle prickly.

The Cliff Net Bush is rare in nature but is becoming popular in cultivation.

The genus name comes from Greek: kalos, beauty and thamnos, a shrub. This is a very apt name for this group of beautiful Western Australian shrubs. The species name comes from Latin: rupes a rock or cliff and refers to the habitat of the species.

Propagate all species from seed or cuttings. Roots are produced rapidly from cuttings. Cutting-grown plants flower much sooner than seed-grown plants.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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