Australian National Botanic Gardens
In 1901 the release of Federation wheat provided a potent symbol for the aspirations of the new Nation. As Australia was being developed, wheat provided the basis for closer settlement, and the basis of much of Australia's wealth.
The Centenary of Federation State Committee and Kings Park and Botanic Garden have formed a unique partnership to develop and promote Anigozanthos rufus 'Kings Park Federation Flame' - a special orange flowering form of the Red Kangaroo Paw. A floral emblem for the Centenary of Federation is just as much a potent symbol for Australia's identity today as Federation wheat was in 1901.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden first collected seed of the parent plants of Anigozanthos rufus 'Kings Park Federation Flame' near Bremer Bay in the southwest of Western Australia in 1981.
Seed material from Bremer Bay was germinated and grown on, and the flowering plants were assessed, and the best selections retained. Plants were selected on the basis of flower and foliage colour, vigour and disease resistance. The brilliant orange form of the Red Kangaroo Paw was then trailled in the Botanic Garden, and in January 1997 a range of the best material from these trials was chosen as the parent plants for Anigozanthos rufus 'Kings Park Federation Flame'
In order to rapidly increase the available stock, tissue culture methods were employed for propagation. Shoots of established plants of Anigozanthos rufus 'Kings Park Federation Flame' were meticulously cleaned and sterilised, and then introduced to tissue culture in a sterile growing medium including special plant hormones. The resulting plantlets were further divided in tissue culture to produce large numbers ready for potting out. In 10 months 8000 plants have been produced from 100 plantlets developed in tissue culture
Anigozanthos rufus 'Kings Park Federation Flame' will do best in full sun in an open position with light summer subsurface watering. Plants should be placed about 40 cm apart. A slow release low phosphorous fertiliser. Flowering will typically occur within 12-18 months of planting and will continue from spring until late summer Whilst individual plants provide an excellent accent in the garden, group or mass plantings will provide spectacular results. Foliage reaches about 50 cm and has an attractive bluish colour, whilst flowering stems commonly reach from 60 cm to 120 cm. Dead-heading is necessary to induce the best flowering results, although selecting flowering stems for cut flowers will assist in achieving the same goal. 'Kings Park Federation Flame' shows excellent resistance to ink spot disease.
A key aspect of the Centenary of Federation programme is to encourage community participation in the Centenary of Federation celebrations. The melding of traditions with new ways is an essential component in establishing Australia's identity, and in reaffirming an inclusive and tolerant society. 'Kings Park Federation Flame' provides a potent symbol in affirming our diverse cultural and natural heritage. 'Kings Park Federation Flame' reflects the community's developing commitment to a uniquely Australian identity, and to the conservation of Australia's unique natural heritage through sustainable development.
Information supplied by the Centenary of Federation State Committee Western Australia.