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Eremophila is a genus of plants of the family Scrophulariaceae , with species known by the common names of Emu Bush, Poverty Bush or Fuchsia Bush. Currently, there are 215 recognised species, all of which are endemic to Australia. One species, Eremophila debilis which occurs in New Zealandmarker, is thought to be naturalised.

Description

The size and habit of Eremophilas varies greatly, but they can be readily identified from their flowers which have corollas with two upper lobes and three lower lobes. As the flower ages, the corolla falls off and the calyx enlarges and becomes coloured as the fruit enlarges.

Species

Species include:

Taxonomy

The genus was first formally described in 1810 by botanist Robert Brown in Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae. Eremophila is derived from the Greek words eremos (desert) and phileo (love) alluding to the species adaptation to arid environments.

Ecology

There are two groupings of Eremophilas, those with flowers designed to attract insects and those designed to attract birds. Flowers of the former kind tend to be bluish-purple colours or white.The lower lips of the flower project forward to provide a landing area for the insects. The bird-attracting type have red, orange, yellow or green flowers with lower lobes that point downwards to discourage insect nectar feeders. The longer stamens brush nectar onto the birds head as the bird's beak reaches down the floral tube toward the nectar.

Large amounts of the fruits are eaten by emus, passing through their gut. By this method the seeds are dispersed and provided with fertiliser at the same time.

Distribution

They occur across Australia, primarily in arid regions, with the majority of species occurring in Western Australiamarker.

References

External links




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