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Arboretum Spotlight: Spot an emu bush

Spotted emu bush is – you guessed it – native to Australia, but it looks nothing like its namesake flightless bird. However, hummingbirds will flock to its lemon-yellow flowers.
Spotted emu bush is – you guessed it – native to Australia, but it looks nothing like its namesake flightless bird. However, hummingbirds will flock to its lemon-yellow flowers.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “40 Plants You (Probably) Have Never Heard of – But Will Love,” 40 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region but hard to find.

Spotted emu bush

Eremophila maculata “Alba”

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and up to 10 feet wide.

Bloom season: Lemon-yellow flowers in winter, January to March.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Shape as desired; shearing after bloom will increase flowers next year.

Water needs: Low water; once established, irrigate twice a month.

Snap shot: This little-known Australian shrub looks nothing like its namesake flightless bird, but the emu bush is well adapted to hot, windy and sunny landscapes. A dense, evergreen shrub with small dark green leaves, it produces masses of lemon-yellow flowers for great winter color. Plant it in well-drained soil and it will provide nectar for hummingbirds. The spotted emu bush can be effectively hedged, too, making it a water-wise “wall” for your garden space.

For more on “40 Plants,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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