Illawarra Flame Tree

Chasing Illawarra Flame Tree

I have been chasing the flowering of Illawarra Flame Tree for months. In late Winter, I went with my camera to the St Kilda Botanic Gardens to photograph a red flowering tree but then realised that I was looking at the Coral Tree Erythrina. From my books I learned that the Flame Tree is in flower at the same time as Jacaranda in the Australian late Spring or early Summer. Well, the Jacaranda’s are in full violet bloom right now in Melbourne but the scarlet flowers of the Flame Tree’s I remember so well from last year are missing.

When calling the Melbourne Botanic Gardens this week they confirmed that the Flame Trees are not flowering this season as the weather had been unusually cold and wet in Melbourne. My Encyclopedia of Australian Native Plants confirms that flowering can be erratic from year to year as the plant prefers a dry, mild winter. Very much wanting to write about Illawarra Flame Tree I had to dig into my photo archive to find a couple of photos I took quickly on the side the year before while I had concentrated on Jacaranda.

Illawarra Flame TreeIllawarra Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius is native to Australia’s northern tropical and sub-tropical regions. It belongs to the Malvaceae family and Brachychiton is a genus of 30 species which are all native to Australia with the exception of one or two found in Papua New Guinea.

In Australia, the genus is also known under the name Kurrajong. Just before flowering in late Spring or early Summer the tree loses its leaves giving way for spectacular sprays of bright scarlet bell-shaped flowers.

The pod-shaped fruits of the Kurrajong are 10cm long, dark brown in colour, and contain bright yellow seeds. Illawarra Flame Tree Seed CapsuleThe seeds were eaten by Aboriginals raw or roasted after removal of their irritating yellow hairs. When roasted over high heat, the seeds develop a nutty flavour. They are highly nutritious, containing protein, fats, zinc and magnesium.

The healing properties of the flower essence are actually based on the hand-like shape of the young leaves, appearing to reach out in search of acceptance. Thus, Illawarra Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essences range is the essence to support someone with an overwhelming sense of rejection.

I believe that the feeling of rejection it is quite a regular occurrence these days. Our impersonal computerised world tends to enhance situations of rejection when for example applying for jobs in a tight job market over months or years when perhaps or perhaps less significant our posts on Facebook remain unacknowledged and our pages not liked. There is the feeling of rejection when a lover walks out or being excluded from a conversation at work. Writers, actors and creative folk deal with it so frequently that they share their stories on the official website ‘Literary Rejections’.

Psychologically, rejection destabilises our need to belong and undermines our self-esteem. When it occurs repeatedly it breaks us down. Seen from a higher perspective it can be our greatest teacher in learning to embrace and strengthen our uniqueness in the expression of self.

“Dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Illawarra Flame TreeIllawarra Flame Tree essence is for those people with an ingrained pattern of feeling deeply hurt when perceiving rejection, be it real or imaginary.

This pattern might play out with a tendency to join activities that are not liked in order to be part of a group and avoid being left out. Ian White of the Australian Bush Flower Essences writes on the consequences of such behaviour to the physical body: ‘Such actions are a deep denial of self and lead to a weakening of the thymus gland, the key to the immune system. Flame Tree essence strengthens and balances the thymus.’

There is an additional aspect to people who have this pattern of rejection in so far as they know that they have talents and abilities but feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of developing their potential. This perhaps due to the fear of showing their true selves and subsequently being possibly rejected.

Fear of responsibility is the second indication for this remedy, and can be used for example for people who continually delay parenthood due to being afraid of the responsibility it takes to have children.

The harmonising qualities of Illawarra Flame Tree essence are confidence, commitment, strength, self-reliance, and self-approval.

© 2013, Annette Zerrenthin

Bryant, Geoff. The Random House Encyclopedia of Australian Native Plants. Random House, 2005.
Low, Tim. Wild Food Plants of Australia. Angus&Robertson, 1991.
Gardening Australia's Flora. ABC Books, 2013.
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
White, Ian, Australian Bush Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.


Grevillea superb

Grevillea – Of Boldness, Strength and Courage

Grevilleas are diverse, with about 340 species native mainly to Australia but some can also be found in New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia, and Sulawesi. They come in all shapes and sizes from small ground-cover shrubs less than 50 cm in height to tall trees up to 35 m.

They are named in honour of Charles Francis Greville (1749 – 1809) a British antiquarian, collector and politician, who was a passionate gardener and a close friend of botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

Grevilleas distinctive colourful flower clusters come in three basic forms





and large brushes.

Grevillea robusta - Silky oak

Grevilleas are mentioned in Tim Low’s  field guide ‘Wild Food Plants of Australia’ as a food source with the flowers producing a sweet nectar. Flowers of Golden Grevillea Grevillea pteridifolia common in tropical woodlands of northern Australia, for example, are rich in Vitamin C while Silky Oak Grevillea robusta (see photo above) is one of the best nectar producers.

The sweet nectar of  Grevilleas attract insects, birds and marsupials and the flower heads of some species have been used by Aborigines as food source who, for example, soaked them in water to make a sweet drink. (Please note that some of the cultivated species of Grevillea contain toxic cyanide.)

Flower essences of two native Grevilleas can be found in the  Australian Bush Flower Essence range with Red Grevillea Grevillea speciosa and Grey Spider Flower Grevillea buxifolia.

Red Grevillea’s  Grevillea speciosa healing potential is to support someone feeling stuck in their lives or for people who are oversensitive, are easily affected by criticism and by unpleasant people. They are often too reliant on others.

IMG_5195Just before coming into full bloom Grevilleas (pictured Silky Oak Grevillea robusta) flower stamens are curled in, symbolizing a contraction, something that can be experienced when being stuck in life. Life is circling in on itself as we don’t know which step to take next, being indecisive of the direction to take, or we have a direction set too rigidly in our minds but whatever we are trying to do we are faced with setbacks. Does this scenario sound familiar? It does to me having ticked all those boxes over the past months. What I learned was to let go of rigidly hanging on to a direction that was stuck in my mind and open up my life to other possibilities. 

The curled stamens likewise symbolise the energies of people, who are oversensitive and in order to feel safe, they retreat energetically and physically into themselves.


Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. Bernice Johnson Reagon 


When the flower comes into full bloom its stamens unfurl and expand. Illustrating expansion after contraction, our life starts to blossom and possibilities are popping up on every corner. There is strength and a feeling of growth, seeing the world with fresh eyes.

The positive potential for Red Grevillea flower essence is boldness, strength to leave unpleasant situations and indifference to the judgement of others.

Grey Spider Flower Grevillea buxifolia essence is used for extreme terror and especially, when having been confronted by a life-threatening situation. It is also indicated by fear of the supernatural and psychic attack.

Ian White, the maker of the Australian Bush Flower Essences, writes about the harmonising qualities of this essence: ‘When you look at this flower you can clearly see a face, with two sunken eyes and a wide-open mouth, resembling the famous, haunting, expressionistic painting of the 1930s by Edvard Munch, The Scream. This suggests the quality of the plant, as it is very good for helping to resolve terror and to bring about courage, calmness and faith.’

© 2013, Annette Zerrenthin

Bryant, G. Australian Native Plants. Random House, 2005.
Gardening Australia. Flora. ABC Books, 2013.
Low, T. Wild Food Plants of Australia. Angus&Robertson, 1991.
White, I. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
White, I. Australian Bush Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.

Wisteria – Purple Rain of Sensuality

The wisterias are in blossom in my neighbourhood and I adore seeing this abundance of cascading flowers swaying in the breeze resembling violet-coloured waterfalls. The gentle softness of the wisteria flowers are betraying the climbing killer that lives underneath strangling anything in its way for the best spot to display its beauty in the sunlight.

A member of the pea family wisterias include 10 species that are native to North America and East Asia. They can grow to a height of 30 metres and are known to live up to 100 years. When visiting the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi, Japan you will find a 143 year old Wisteria Tree among the many species displayed there.


There is much symbolism attached to this hardy vine including love, grace, endurance, longevity, creative expansion and victory over hardship. In Shin Buddhism wisterias with their low hanging blossoms are a symbol of prayer and sincere reverence to Amida Buddha.


Bridging history and cultures wisteria flowers have a symbolic connection to love in all its forms but the Japanese symbolism of love, sensuality, support, sensitivity, bliss and tenderness describes most closely the harmonising qualities of the flower essence remedy.

“In pale moonlight /
the wisteria’s scent /
comes from far away.”
Yosa Buson


Wisteria flower essence (Wisteria sinesis) is probably the one essence within the Australian Bush Flower Essences range that is not made from an Australian native plant. This essence is primarily a remedy for women that is addressing sexuality and sensuality but can be used in males wanting to get in touch with their gentler more feminine aspect of being. Consider a combination with Flannel Flower for balancing these aspects in men.

Combined with Fringed Violet, Wisteria flower essence will assist women to clear the emotional and physical scarring caused by sexual abuse or assault.

The remedy is included in the ABFE combination essences Sensuality, Sexuality and Face, Hand and Body.

© Annette Zerrenthin, 2013

I. White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books,  1991.
I. White. Australian Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
I. White. Australian Bush Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Ltd, 2006.

Banksia – Joie de vivre

Writing this blog over the past year my focus has shifted more and more towards highlighting the plants in their natural environments. I’ve come to understand that our lives depend entirely on plants, without them we would not be here … food, shelter, oxygen, healing. Yet there is a disconnection from the natural environment for those of us who live in cities following a hectic lifestyle. We forget that a day out in nature can so easily bring us back to ourselves and connect us to our bodies and souls feeling the spark why we are here, a joie de vivre.

Today my focus is on Banksia’s and the four flower essences in the Australian Bush Flower Essences and Living Essences of Australia ranges.

Banksia’s are iconic to the Australian landscape. They were named after English botanist Sir Joseph Banks who first described them when landing on the Endeavour at Botany Bay as part of Captain Cooks exploration in 1770. Since their first description by the European explorer 173 species of shrubs and small trees have been classified as banksias. They are widely distributed throughout the Australian continent and Tasmania, but don’t grow in the deserts. The majority of Banksia’s can be found in south-western Australia.

The characteristic flower spikes, which turn into woody fruits, are rich in nectar and are a food source for native birds, bats, insects, possums and sugar gliders.

Here are some examples of the diverse genus I photographed at Sydney Harbour National Park, in Western Australia and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. The diversity of our plant world is so incridible, have a look for example at the difference in leaves in these photos.

Heath Banksia, Banksia ericifolia at Sydney Harbour National Park.

Heath Banksia

Coast BanksiaBanksia integrifolia at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (also image at top)

Coast Banksia

The spherical woody fruit cone of Round Fruited Banksia, Banksia sphaerocarpa at Porongurup National Park, WA


The magnificent Giant Banksia, Banksia grandis at Porongurup NP in WA

Banksia grandisIMG_2904

Yellow and burgundy coloured Cut-leaf Banksia’sBanksia praemorsa, at Stirling Range NP, WA.

Yellow Cut-Leaf Banksia


… and last but not least Ashby’s Banksia, Banksia ashbyi at Kings Park in Perth, WA.


Menzies Banksia Banksia menziesii from the Living Essences of Australia range supports a person in letting go of emotional pain, overcoming fear and pessimism that has come from negative experience/s anchored in the cellular memory of the body. It is ‘for the person caught up in their pain and not able to see beyond it. For those trying to transcend pain’. The harmonising qualities of the essence are freedom, joy, courage, regeneration. The essence can also be used topically to relief physical pain in areas on the muscles around the spine, neck and joints.

Woolly Banksia Banksia hookeriana (also know under the common names of Hooker’s or Acorn Banksia) supports us in manifesting our dreams by shifting into the energy of success when we have become defeatist, disheartened, unsure and being stuck on our path. It is used for those that see only more problems and hardship on the way ahead. This essence helps to succeed by taking one step at a time rather than being overwhelmed by the chatter in our minds of the magnitude of the task ahead. It ‘gives the inspiration, strength and vitality to get on top of things and conquer, no matter how weary one feels’.

Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas. Henry Ford 

Of the Australian Bush Flower Essences Old Man Banksia Banksia serrata is for those with a solid, plethoric, heavy disposition who may often present with low energy. These people tend to have earthly natures and operate more from their bodies and emotions than from their minds. They may be disheartened by setbacks in life, weary and frustrated.

While Old Man Banksia flower essence is for those with a particular constitution Swamp Banksia Banksia robur assists those in situations with temporary tiredness, frustrations or setbacks. These people are normally energetic, dynamic and enthusiastic but due to illness, disappointment or burnout the out of balance symptoms presented are low energy, being disheartened, weary and frustrated.

Both essences bring back spark, energy and enthusiasm into a person’s life, an enjoyment of and interest in life.

I. White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
I. White. Australian Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
V. & K. Barnao. Australian Flower Essences for the 21st Century. Australian Flower Essence Academy, 1997.
G. Bryant. Australian Native Plants. Random House, 2005.

On Bottlebrush

Bottlebrush is one of the plant genera that signify the Australian landscape along Eucalyptus, Acacia and Grevillia. Belonging to the Myrtaceae family there are two species that use the common name Bottlebrush, Callistemon (with 35 – 40 species) and Beaufortia (18 species). The latter are endemic to south-western Australia, while Callistemon can be found throughout temperate and subtropical regions of Australia.

Beaufortia are named after the botanical patron Duchess of Beaufort. As I had some Beaufortia images on file that I photographed in the Stirling Range National Park I thought to post them here, even though the Bottlebrush flower essences are made from two of the Callistemon species.

Beaufortia decussata | Gravel Bottlebrush


Beaufortia schaueri | Pink Bottlebrush


Beaufortia squarrosa | Sand Bottlebrush


The flower spikes of bottlebrushes form in Spring and Summer. The long prominent stamens make up the dense cylindrical spikes while the petals of the flower are almost hidden at the base.

The name Callistemon is derived from the Greek – kallistos, most beautiful and stema, a stamen.


Australian Bushflower Essences and Living Essences of Australia both offer a bottlebrush essence in their range with different harmonising qualities.

Living Essences of Australia’s Queensland Bottlebrush (Callistemon polandi) essence is entitled ‘The Sociable Spirit’ and brings about the enjoyment of fellow human beings. It is for those people who see only the benefits they can get from others and have the tendency to withdraw when they are being asked to contribute.

It helps people who feel physically, emotionally or mentally overwhelmed when in the company of others or for those, that have been taken advantage of by others and feel unsettled when in company.

‘The healing brings an internal focus where the person maintains a social projection of themselves which is true to themselves and is assertive enough to establish a balanced rapport with others. There is then an energy balance not an energy drain.’


As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson


The ABFE Bottlebrush (Callistemon linearis) essence has the harmonising qualities of serenity and calm, the abilities to cope and move on relating to dealing with major life changes such as old age, adolescence, parenthood, pregnancy or approaching death. This essence assists the person resisting change to let go of the old.


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. ~Tao Te Ching


When I use the essence in my clinic sessions the first that often comes to mind is its connection with the large intestine meridian. In Chinese medicine theory the large intestine meridian is associated with letting go of believes, habits or emotions that don’t serve one any longer. Here the Bottlebrush essence quite literally assists in this process of elimination. It helps to brush away the past and allows a person to move on to new situations and experiences.

I. White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam, 1991.
I. White. Australian Bush Flower Healing. Bantam, 1999.
V. & K. Barnao. Australian Flower Essences for the 21st Century. Australian Flower Essence Academy, 1997.
D. Greig. Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers. New Holland, 2012.
G. Bryant. Australian Native Plants. Random House Australia, 2005.

© Annette Zerrenthin, 2013.


Fringed Violet – Protection


“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” — Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Well then, here is your chance to make up with God for the times you’ve passed the colour purple in a field and outright ignored it.

You may find this purple beauty in all states of Australia but don’t look for it in Tasmania. It’s botanical name Thysanotus comes  from the Greek thysanotos, meaning ‘fringed’.  Thysanotus from the Asparagaceae family is a genus of 47 species that are endemic to Australia.  It is a perennial herb with flowers characterised by fringed margined petals. Flowering occurs in Spring and early Summer with each flower opening for a single day only. The delicate flowers close in the dark, when it rains or overcast.


One of the family members is Thysanotus tuberosus, the Common Fringed Lily also known as Fringed Violet. The Australian Bush Flower Essence has Fringed Violet in its range of flower essences.

Fringed Violet  heals the aura that has been damaged by shock or trauma caused by accidents, major illness or loss of a loved one. If you ever have had the unfortunate experience of your house being burgled you can likely recall having a sense of your space being invaded, feeling vulnerable and unprotected. As our living spaces are an extension of our physical body this feeling of vulnerability may be an indication that the aura, the protective shield around your body, has been impacted from the emotional shock of the event, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable for an extended period of time.

The essence supports us to release shock from the body. ‘Fringed Violet helps to keep intact a person’s protection, thus blocking off unwanted external energies. It is excellent for people who are drained by others, or those who unconsciously absorb the physical and emotional imbalances of other people.’ (Ian White, Australian Bush Flower Essences)

The harmonising qualities of this essence are the removal of effects of recent or old distressing events, healing damage to the aura and psychic protection. For psychic protection you can combine Fringed Violet with Grey Spider Flower.

For these qualities Fringed Violet is part of a number of the ABFE combination essences – Emergency, Electro, Meditation, Sexuality, Space Clearing and Travel.

In addition to using flower essences there are other ways to cleanse and strenghten the aura, such as spending time in nature (… and don’t forget to rejoice in the magnificence when walking past the colour purple).

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Ian White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
Ian White. Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
Ian White. Australian Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.

After life

In Autumn, when life has drained out of flowers, their seeds dispursed into the ground, I watch their bleached, frozen froms in nature.


Each flower head a transient sculptural masterpiece, a three dimensional shadow play in monochrome.


A reminder of the impermanence of  life.

There are times when our old ways of being in the world are dying and we enter a transient stage, not knowing where to go and the next step required. Life seemingly comes to a standstill. Used to a busy daily schedule, being in limbo feels threatening, survival fears and axieties surface. Our beings sitting in the unknown of all things possible with nothing physically manifested but minds racing, grasping for security.

RIMG0046Allow yourself the space to surrender to time for seeds to germinate and blossom into a new cycle of life.

Who can wait quietly until the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Lao Tzu

IMG_3435Flower essences can support us in phases of transition into a new way of life that takes place internally and/or externally. They can help to ease the letting go and transition at the end of life.

The Australian Bush Flower Transition Essence, a combination of eight flower essences, helps to cope with and move through major life change. When on a crossroad, it brings an awareness of one’s life direction or alternatively, it benefits if you know what you want but don’t know how to archieve it. “It eases the fear of death as well as helping one come to terms with it. This remedy, consequently, allows one to easily and gently pass over with calmness, dignity and serenity.”

Desert Alchemy ‘Transitions Formula’ brings a sense of peace and ease in times of great changes and transitions. ‘It creates a sense of protection, concentration and luminescence that helps us to focus on making a transformation or a transition without distraction.’ It addresses three stages of transition: Dissolving or Death of the Old, The Limbo and Accepting the New.

The combination formula includes Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus to allow us to be vulnerable and for us to recognize that we have all we need within ourselves. Pink Pond Lily brings a freshness of preception, to see ourselves with new eyes and rest in the knowing of trust and safety within us.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Kemp Scherer, Cynthia Athina. The Alchemy of the Desert. Desert Alchemy Editions, 2003.
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.

Bluebell – ‘An open, aware heart is your camera.’

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum. ~ Ansel Adams

This quote by photographer Ansel Adams highlights one of the healing aspects of the Australian Bush Flower’s Bluebell essence … helping to open the heart.

The essence can be used when you feel cut-off from your feelings with emotions present but are unable to find words to express them. The essence supports you to gently ease your heart open. Ian White adds … ‘for subconsciously these people are afraid that their feelings of love, joy, etc., are finite or unrenewable.’  The essence promotes trust in universal abundance, sharing joyfully with your world.

The harmonising aspects for this essence are … opens the heart, belief in abundance, universal trust and joyful sharing.

Botanically, Bluebells are part of the large Bluebell family of about 2000 species, Campanulaceae, that are mostly found in temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere.

Wahlenbergia is part of the extended Bluebell family that occurs predominantly in South Africa, but also in New Zealand and Australia.  In Australia, the widespread genus consists of about 20 species of which, Wahlenbergia gloriosa, Royal Bluebell, was declared the Australian Capital Territories floral emblem in 1982.

Being curious about the name of the genus I found information on the  Floral Emblems of Australia website  ‘The genus Wahlenbergia was proposed by Heinrich Schrader, a German botanist, in honour of Georg Goran Wahlenberg (1780-1851), Professor of Botany at Uppsala, Sweden, and described by Albrecht Roth in 1821.’ 

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Denise Greig. Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers. New Holland, 2012.
Margaret G. Corrick, Bruce A. Fuhrer. Wildflowers of Victoria. Bloomings Books, 2001.
Ian White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.



On Kangaroo Paw

In Australia, you can find Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos) growing in many native gardens, parks and are offered as cut flowers in florists. Their natural habitat is the south-western region of Western Australia where you can see most of the 7 genera and 85 species in their natural habitat.

The first European to describe the flower was the French botanist Jacques-Julian Houton de Labillardiere, who as part of a scientific expedition, landed near Esperance WA in 1792. It was de Labillardiere who coined the species name  Anigozanthos meaning ‘irregular flower’. The common name Kangaroo Paw stems from the appearance of the unopened flower clusters resembling the forepaw of a kangaroo.


The most known of this family is the striking Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) proclaimed as the floral emblem of Western Australia in 1960.


Kangaroo Paw flower essences made from Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) are available through the Australian Bush Flower Essence as well as the Living Essences of Australia ranges.

This essence supports relationships either for people who are socially awkward or family members who have grown distant.  The essence is indicated for the socially inept person who has difficulty relating to others, either because of being a bit naive, narrow minded or feeling out of place in social circumstances. It’s for the person who always knows the right thing to say after the situation has passed.

Living Essences of Australia describes the ‘Healing Pathway to the Soul’ for this essence as follows:

‘The mind races towards its personal goals and desires, expecting support and devaluing those people who don’t support them directly. This devalued person can be one who simply wants to share Love with us. Just to BE is an art in life where the mind learns to sublimate its endless external plans and curiosities to the real experiences of the internal world. One of these internal delicacies that can easily be missed is the timeless communion with another Soul and all the sweetness of the combining of two hearts.’

The harmonising qualities of this essence are: kindness, sensitivity, enjoyment of people, closeness, being relaxed, in touch and patient.


A relationship is like a garden. If it is to thrive it must be watered regularly. Special care must be given, taking into account the seasons as well as any unpredictable weather. New seeds must be sown and weeds must be pulled …
~ John Gray


Living Essences of Australia also makes an essence from Purple and Red Kangaroo Paw. This essence is also indicated for relationship problems with focus on situations when we feel hung up communicating with a particular person … having to blame, argue, criticise and or react to the person. Taking is essence assists in shifting the problem into the spotlight and away from the other person. ‘Being in touch with the other person and not focusing on winning a fight, or having their own way, many new possibilities arise to renew the relationship.’

The harmonising qualities of Purple and Red Kangaroo Paw are: openness, sensitivity, understanding and vulnerability.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Ian White: Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
Vasudeva & Kadambii Barnao. Australian Flower Essences for the 21st Century. Australasian Flower Essence Academy, 1997.
Geoff Bryant. Australian Native Plants. Random House Australia, 1995.
Andy Zubko. Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers,2004.

Sturt Desert Pea – The beautiful Alien


Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) of the Fabaceae family is one of the most striking looking Australian native flowering plants. The shape of the bight crimson coloured flowers with its black centre have an alienness to them that to me can only be described as otherworldly.

Endemic to Australia’s arid regions Sturt’s Desert Pea can be found in all mainland states except Victoria. It’s a sprawling creeper that grows to a hight of 15 centimetres.


The earliest Western sightings of the plant recorded were  by the explorer William Dampier on his exploration of New Holland in 1699. However, the common name goes to another seafarer, Captain Charles Sturt, who recorded seeing large numbers on his exploration of central Australia between 1844 and 1845. Sturt’s Desert Pea is the floral emblem of South Australia.

There are several indigenous Australian legends that link the plant to emotions of grief and sorrow and one of those is the  sad tale of Wimbakobolo and Purleemil.


“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook


The founder of the Australian Bush Flower Essences, Ian White, describes Sturt Desert Pea and Waratah to be the most powerful of all the bush essences. He writes: ‘The main property of the Sturt Desert Pea remedy is that it resolves very deep pain and sorrow. This remedy works extremely quickly in almost all cases, even when the pain has been harboured for many years, even as far back as a previous life.’ 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory grief and sadness are linked to the lungs and this essence has been found to be effective to clear lung and breathing difficulties.

The harmonising aspects of the essence when a person feels pain, deep hurt or sadness are letting go, the diffusion of sad memories and it’s motivating & re-energising.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
Morcombe, M.K. Australia's Western Wildflowers. Landfall Press, 1968.