Waratah (Telopea) is a genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees in the Proteaceae, native to southeastern Australia, from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. They have spirally arranged leaves 10-20 cm long and 2-3 cm broad with entire or serrated margins, and large, dense flowerheads 6-15 cm diameter with numerous small red flowers and a basal ring of red bracts. The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal tribe who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.
The five species all occupy distinct ranges with minimal or no overlap; listed from north to south:
* Telopea aspera Crisp & P.H.Weston - Gibraltar Range Waratah
or New England Waratah. Northeast New South Wales.
The New South Wales Waratah is native to areas in the Sydney geological basin, Central and South Coast districts, and in the Blue Mountains; it grows to about 4 m tall. It typically grows in sandy loam soils along ridges and plateaus. It is the floral emblem of the state of New South Wales and several organisations in the state.
Waratahs are popular ornamental plants in gardens in Australia; several hybrids and cultivars have been developed, including some with creamy-white and pink flowers as well as the natural red.
The botanical journal Telopea is named after the genus.
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