Leucadendrons vary in size from small to tall shrubs, and have long woody stems, with short side stems covered leaves and terminating in a flower head. Leucadendrons are in demand around the world for their attractive ‘flowers’, which consist of a cone-like flower head enclosed by coloured leaf-like bracts (not petals) at the top of the stems. As the flower head matures late in the season, the central large woody cone may become more prominent. Leucadendron stems have quite a long vase life, up to 20 days. While several Leucadendron species are cultivated as cut flowers and marketed as ‘wildflowers’ in Australia, it should be noted that they are native to South Africa and not Australia.
Growers entering the cut flower industry are encouraged to do extensive research on the inherent risks and challenges throughout the value chain.
The wildflower industry, including leucadendron producers, is a mature industry in Australia. It has an active research & development (R&D) program that assists industry members develop better production techniques, works towards industry-wide standards and identifies marketing opportunities. The wildflower industry is represented by WildFlowers Australia, which represents a diverse range of industry participants, including growers, buyers, wholesalers, exporters and importers, and research and extension specialists.
Facts and figures
- Leucadendrons are a member of the Proteaceae family and are native to South Africa
- Several species, varieties and hybrids within the Leucadendron genus are used as cut flowers
- Leucadendrons are susceptible to phytophthora root rot
- They are grown on beds under irrigation
- They require regular pruning for maximum production
- Leucadendrons can have quite a long vase life
The Australian wildflower industry (including but not solely leucadendron) is located mainly in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and south east Queensland.