Derwentia perfoliata: is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family in company with the exotic Snapdragons and Foxgloves. The Derwentias have had chequered horticultural career. Firstly all species were included in the Veronica and then Parahebe before becoming Derwentia.
Derwentia perfoliata is a small shrub with many upright stems. The leaves are opposite and ovate with a leathery texture. Because of the leaf shape and arrangement plants without flowers resemble miniature Eucalypts.
The flowers are purplish blue and are carried in terminal racemes. Each raceme carries between 25 to 70 flowers. Flowering occurs between September and February.
A mature flowering plant is a sight to behold. The dozens of stems are each crowned with racemes of colourful flowers. The blooms contrast with the foliage.
Pruning each stem almost to ground level will rejuvenate old plants.
Derwentia perfoliata propagates readily from cuttings. We purchased a plant a few years ago and since then its progeny have been planted throughout our gardens. The species has proved to be drought resistant and frost tolerant.
The species comes from central and southern New South Wales as well as Victoria.
Derwentia perfoliata was introduced into England in 1815.
We are cultivating two other species: Derwentia arcuata and Derwentia arenaria.
The species name means leaf surrounding the stem.