Kangaroo Paw Facts
- The wonderful Kangaroo Paw ranks a rather hardy flower endemic only to a small area of the world. It remains most noted for its uniquely shaped flowers.
- The truly unique flowers of this particular genus attract numerous species of birds. The flowers grow tube-shaped and covered with dense hairs.
- The blooms also open at the apex, with six claw-like structures, said to resemble a kangaroo’s paw; hence the common name.
- Currently, botanists recognize 11 known varieties of Kangaroo Paw.
Kangaroo Paw Physical Characteristics
The Kangaroo Paw blooms from August to October and seems to be adaptable to a wide variety of habitats. Pollination principally occurs via birds, rather than bees.
The flowers of this remarkable genus typically develop green in color and roughly 4 in (10 cm) in length, and display the characteristic tube shape.
The stems sometimes grow to a length of as much as 5 ft (1.5 m). This plant does not possess any toxin, but the fine hair-like structures sometimes cause skin irritation if handled.
Kangaroo Paw Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
All known varieties of the surprising and magnificent Kangaroo Paw evolved as endemic to a rather restricted portion of Southwest Australia.
The genus typically inhabits warm dry areas in its native environment. It occurs naturally in an area extending from the Murchison River to Lake Muir.
The various plants of the genus remain rather popular with local bird varieties. Its long, flowering stalks rise above surrounding undergrowth, thus attracting birds as a perch.
Consequently, the birds represent its principal pollination source. The birds provide pollination when they feed upon the nectar within the flowers.
This occurs because the shape of the flower causes pollen to be deposited on their heads, and then gets transferred to the next flower the bird visits.
The plants of this genus remain considered the floral symbol of Australia. It also now commonly appears in gardens in the United States.