Telopea Braidwood Brilliant: The Telopeas or Waratahs are members of the Proteaceae family. There are five species in the family. The best known is Telopea speciosissima, the Sydney Waratah. This is the floral emblem of NSW. We have had no success growing Waratahs in the gardens at Yallaroo. At the moment we have two specimens growing in containers. In October 2001, one of these Waratahs presented us with a flower (see image). It is not an award winning bloom but we have high hopes for crop next spring.
The plant that flowered is a hybrid known as Telopea Braidwood Brilliant. This hybrid has an interesting history. The story is gleaned from information on the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra web site.
“Braidwood Brilliant” was a deliberate hybrid of Telopea speciosissima and Telopea mongaensis. The latter parent is known as the Braidwood Waratah and is named after an old gold mining town near Canberra. The flowers are not as colourful as the Sydney Waratah but the species is more cold tolerant.
The theory was to create a hybrid that would be almost as colourful as the Sydney Waratah but with greater tolerance to the cold.
Pollen was selected from Sydney Waratahs growing high in the Blue Mountains of NSW and used to fertilize flowers of Telopea mongaensis. The resultant hybrid was called Telopea Braidwood Brilliant and has proved to be a colourful, cold resistant Waratah. The hybrid was bred in 1962.
Telopea Braidwood Brilliant is an upright shrub supposed to reach a height of two to three metres. The flower heads are cherry-red with a diameter of six to eight centimetres. As well as its ornamental value “Braidwood Brilliant” could be cultivated as a cut flower crop.
In the Southern Highlands of NSW there are areas where the populations of Sydney Waratah and Braidwood Waratah intersect. We recently heard that hybrid plants have been discovered in this area. We are seeking more information about these hybrids.
Propagation must be from cuttings to maintain the desirable characteristics of “Braidwood Brilliant”.