Lambertia formosa    

Mountain Devil

With the distinctive devil’s head seed pod of a short beak and two long horns, this is one of the best known shrubs in the Blue Mountains. Hidden amongst whorls of sharp tipped, linear leaves, the gnarled woody fruit colours with age from green to grey and eventually splits to reveal a winged seed in each of the two valves.

The fruit develops from erect clusters of 7 orange to bright red flowers that are surrounded by red-green bracts. Each flower consists of a 4cm long floral tube with a rolled back fringe, and a protruding style. Abundant in nectar they were favoured by Aboriginal people as a source of sugary carbohydrate.

Today they are sought by honeyeating birds and native insects who are often denied this sweet pleasure by European bees which drill into the flower base and drain away the liquid.

Family: Proteaceae

 

Kids Activity Trail

  • Have you ever seen this plant growing in the bush when out bushwalking?
  • The seedpod has a short beak and two horns giving it the common name ‘Mountain Devil’. It has beautiful red flowers full of nectar and birds love it!

Image Credit: MARCO GRILLI Lambertia formosa (Mountain Devil) 2000, carved sandstone, 78 x 120 x 170 cm, Wentworth Falls Lake Sculpture Project, Blue Mountains City Art Collection