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Eremophila is the genus name to a group of more than 200 species of shrubs or plants. Although most of the species in this genus are native to Australia, a few are found in California and the southwestern portion of the United States. The genus’ common name, emu bush, was derived from the large, flightless bird that consumes the grape-like fruit found on some of the species. Most species of Eremophila have a tube-like base, double-lipped flowers, and simple, rounded to linear, green-colored leaves. The stems can interlace and create a dense growth among the open slopes or light woodlands where the various species of Eremophila grow.
Generally, plants in the genus Eremophila tolerate arid climates, poor soil, and wind. The only true requirement for these plants is that the soil should drain water adequately. As a result, Eremophila are considered easy to grow in warm, dry areas or in a greenhouse. The plants require moderate water and fertilizing, full sun, and can withstand pruning.
The most common species of Eremophila is E. maculata, or the spotted emu bush. It grows on the flood plains of Australia and is extremely tolerant of humidity and moisture. The narrow leaves of the spotted emu bush are hairy when they are immature and become hairless as they age. The flowers can be up to 2 inches (about 5.1 cm) long and are found in a variety of colors, such as pink, orange, purple, yellow, white, and red with spots inside the blossom.
E. glabra, also known as the common emu bush or the fuchsia bush, can grow to 5 feet (about 1.5 m) tall and 10 feet (about 3 m) wide. Like most of the species of Eremophila, E. glabra is native only to Australia. It has elongated green leaves and tube-like flowers that can be found in a wide range of colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and green. The blossoms start to bud in the spring and continue to form blossoms into the fall months.
One of the most unique species of Eremophila is E. racemosa, or the Easter egg bush. The distinctive feature of this species is that it has tube-like blossoms that change colors as they mature. Typically, the plant starts out with yellow-colored buds. Then, as the flowers mature, they turn orange, followed by various shades of purple and pink. Many people think the blossoms of the aptly named Easter egg bush look like a bouquet of Easter eggs.