Text and images by Warren Sheather
Prostanthera aspalathoides is a dwarf, erect shrub that reaches a height of one metre in our garden. The small, crowded leaves are deep green and, typical of most Mint Bushes, very aromatic. Tubular flowers are two centimetres long and come in a range of colours including red, orange, yellow and cream. The upper and lower lobes are equal in length.
The plant illustrated is our yellow flowered form. There is also a specimen with red flowers in our collection. With both forms blooms are both conspicuous and prolific in spring.
Prostanthera aspalathoides is an attractive small shrub. Plants look a trifle delicate but in our harsh climate this species has proved to be drought and frost resistant. This attractive Mintbush could be grown in native cottage gardens and rockeries.
Prostantheras propagate readily from cuttings. Most species will produce roots in a month or less. Propagation from cuttings for this species is fast with multiple roots developing.
Prostanthera aspalathoides is widely distributed species and occurs in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. There may also be occurrences in Western Australia. If this is correct then this may be the most widely distributed species in Australia. In NSW the species is found in the Western Slopes and Plains. There is also a record of a specimen from Glen Davis near Lithgow.
The species was described by botanist Allan Cunningham in 1834 based on plant material collected in the vicinity of the Lachlan River in NSW. The species name apparently refers to the similarity of the foliage to the genus Aspalathus an endemic of South Africa.
Prostanthera aspalathoides has flowers that are different in shape to "conventional" Mintbush blooms. The Prostantheras are divided into two sections.
Most species are in the Prostanthera section and they have flowers that are not laterally compressed - including the well known Prostanthera ovalifolia and Prostanthera rotundifolia .
Klanderia is the other section that has laterally compressed, tubular flowers. Prostanthera aspalathoides is a representative of the Klanderia section. Another representative, that we grow, is Prostanthera serpyllifolia shown above.
Prostanthera ovalifolia - is a member of the Prostantera section with normal tubular flowers.
as is Prostanthera rotundifolia also.