Beaufortia looks very much like a Melaleuca bottlebrush, but is in a different genus. The small difference between the genera is in the arrangement of the anthers (the pollen bearing structures of the flowers). In Beaufortia these are attached to the stamens at their bases whereas in Melaleuca the anthers are attached along their sides so it can be quite difficult to separate the two.
Regardless of this, Beaufortia is a popular wildflower in Australia due to the strong red to orange colour of the flowers and their unusual shape. They are native to south-western WA. Flowers are made up of stamens that tend to flex downwards to form the distinctive bottle brush shape. Flowers are borne in the middle of branches, and are surrounded by small, curved lance-shaped leaves.
Beaufortia is either bush-picked or grown in plantations. Most are grown in WA, SA, QLD and NSW.
What to look for
- Buy when 1/2 the flowers in a brush are open;
- Buds should be showing red colour and look fluffy as tight buds will not open;
- Avoid bunches with wilted flowers.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem and wash stem ends thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each branch and place in water immediately.
- Do not bash or split stem ends.
- Always use a preservative as this will help buds open.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
Botanical Name: Beaufortia sparsa
Common Names: Swamp Bottlebrush
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: Australia: WA
Available Colours: Orange, Red