Monday, December 01, 2008

Spike Leeway

You Givin' Me The Brush-Off?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This is an Australian native plant, the Callistemon, but it's commonly called the bottlebrush - and you can see exactly how it gets its name. It looks for all the world like one of the long-handled bottlebrushes that Grandma used in her heyday.

I've always been fascinated by the tiny golden points on the tip of each individual spike. They look for all the world like little light-emitting diodes and when they catch the sun, they are a spectacular sight.

While I photographed this plant a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spot one branch where the spikes were just beginning to protrude from the pods. This picture (below) gives you a good idea of how the spikes actually emerge, tightly furled, to create one of the most vivid sights in an Australian garden.

And another plus point is that the plant thrives even in extremely dry conditions. That's a major factor in this country, where drought has been part of our lives for the past eight years.


Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

32 comments:

joan said...

Hi David,
What a beautiful flower! I've never seen anything like it before and it does look like a bottle cleaner.

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

That is a gorgeous flower! I've never seen anything like it.

RuneE said...

The buds look like they consist of bundled-up rope. Magnificent!

Lee said...

Lovely flower, David! We had them in our yard with I was a teen and I think my grandmother had one too. The area we lived in is considered semi-tropical and grew lots of winter vegetables but the watering was done by canals bringing it from the Rio Grande river because the area was so dry.

Cheers!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

That is a beautiful flower! Does it stay in bloom for long?

Hilary said...

I was thinking about those light-emitting diodes first thing when I saw the photo. Beautiful flower - beautiful photography, as always.

Meire said...

Very beautiful flowers!

Meire

www.meiroca.com

Gill - That British Woman said...

That's a neat flower, thanks for posting the photo of what it looks like before its in full bloom.
Gill in Canada

Denise said...

Great photos David, I have only seen the bottlebrush as it was in your first photo. I'm glad you posted the second. Very interesting.

guild-rez said...

Hello David!
Very pretty flower and beautiful picture!
- Cheers.

arleena said...

Exciting and nice flowers.

ChrissyM said...

How gorgeous! Wow! I've never seen anything like that. That color is so stunning! Wow!!

Daryl said...

Brush up your Shakespeare ... oh wait .. bottle brushes

:-Daryl

and the word verification is gused!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Very beautiful, David. We have these in Florida, but I think that one is a much more vivid red. Or maybe it's just because you are a superior photographer! Thanks for sharing this. Beautiful.

Erin said...

Alienish, isn't it?

And here's a post for you to consider http://sabonai.blogspot.com/2008/11/weathering-storm-in-my-sleep.html
Thanks, erin
(If I'm ever to get this right someone's gonna have to set me straight but hopefully it gets the job done.)

Denise BC said...

Extraordinary close-up, also like the colors and shapes. I am grateful to share and participate in the TF.
hugs, DeniseBC

2sweetnsaxy said...

This was one of my mom's favorite kind of trees, still don't know exactly why. She planted one when I was a kid and it's still there in the yard.

Great shot!

Maggie May said...

Beautiful flower & colour.
A cross between a feather duster and a lavatory brush!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

lol....more like a loo brush holder...

Moannie said...

Incredibly vibrant flower, David

Leora said...

What a pretty flower. I've never seen anything like it here. It's good it holds up well in drought, but it would be even better if you didn't have a drought.

Far Side of Fifty said...

That is a beautiful bloom, I am not familiar with the plant..so I really enjoyed the photo and your explanation! :)

Arija said...

Nicely featured bottlebrush.

SandyCarlson said...

Your flower shots are beautiful, David. That red is wonderful.

Sandi McBride said...

That is the most beautiful bottle brush I've ever seen...the color is striking and the shot so clear!
Sandi

Katney said...

We had one of these in our yard growing up in Southern California.

richies said...

I can see why they call it the bottlebrush. What a beautiful flower!

An Arkie's Musings

humanobserver said...

A beautiful one....It is also one of my favourite plants....

Indrani said...

We have these in plenty here and I have taken several shots of them but none of them like yours. Angle of shot matters a lot.

fishing guy said...

David: What wonder capture of the flowering Bottlebrush. That is a vivid red on the flower.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

beautiful flower and thanks for telling us about it.

Cathy said...

I love the bottlebrush and used to have one in my garden. Many plants from Oz grow very well here in Arizona--just ask my Kangaroo Paws!

Beautiful photos!