Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii), (Anigozanthos flavidus), (Macropidia fuliginosa) or Mangle's Kangaroo Paw is native to Australia. The local name for Kangaroo Paw is nol-la-mara (Nyoongar name) and Monkey Paw.
Kangaroo Paws are brightly-colored, large, vividly colored, velvety flowers with no fragrance. Kangaroo Paws have a sturdy stem, which is a natural perch and makes them ideal flowers for birds. Fine, brightly colored hairs cover the flowers and are, sometimes, part of the stalk. A single Kangaroo Paw blooms on each stem during spring (August - October).
Kangaroo Paws make very good cut flowers and ornamentals. Kangaroo Paws are exported widely globally and are grown commercially in the USA, Israel and Japan.
The Kangaroo Paw's shape and the position of the pollen-bearing anthers enable pollen to deposit on the head of the feeding birds. Pollen is transferred in the Kangaroo Paw from flower to flower as the birds feed
Kangaroo Paw plant is stunning with long, flattened leaves and beautiful brilliant green flowers that are 10 centimeters long. Kangaroo Paws bloom in fan-like clusters at the end of long stems. Each Kangaroo Paw flower has a bright red ovary which, with the unusual paw-shaped flowers, gives the flower its common name. Rare yellow Kangaroo Paws are also seen sometimes.
Facts about Kangaroo Paw Flowers
- Mangle's Kangaroo Paw is the floral emblem of Western Australia, where it is endemic.
- Other common species include the Green Kangaroo Paw, which ranges in color from lemon yellow to emerald green, and the Catspaw, which has smaller red, orange and gold flowers.
- Different species of the unusually shaped Kangaroo Paw usually deposit pollen on different areas of the birds' head. Thus, pollen from one species is unlikely to deposit in the flowers of another species.
- The red and green Kangaroo Paw is easily distinguished by its large red and green paw-shaped flowers.
- The Mangle's Kangaroo Paw has traditionally been used in Aboriginal medicines.
- Kangaroo Paws are also pollinated by honey eaters or wattlebirds.
- A major disease of Kangaroo paws is a fungus, which causes Ink disease, where large black blotches appear on the leaves.
- The genus name, Anigozanthos is derived from the Greek word 'anises', meaning unequal or oblique, and 'anthos', meaning flower, an allusion to the division of the Kangaroo Paw flower into six unequal parts.
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Growing Kangaroo Paw Flowers
Kangaroo Paws easily propagate from seed. The young plants usually flower after a year. Clumps may also be divided in early summer. Macropidia fulginosa is difficult to propagate from seed or by division.
- Kangaroo Paws grow best in well-drained soils in a sunny position.
- Well-composted organic matter improves growth.
- Place the Kangaroo Paw seeds under seed starter about 1/2 inch.
- Kangaroo Paw seeds are small, but try and spread them so there is about 1/2 inch to an inch between the seeds.
- Keep the soil moist until they sprout. It takes about 4 weeks to see the first sprout.
- Water Kangaroo Paw sprouts, but do not overwater.
- The sprouts should grow to about an inch before moving individual sprouts to their own pots.
- Move sprouts to their own pots without touching the roots. Kangaroo Paw roots are very sensitive.
- They do well in a small pot with either potting soil or more seed starter.
Let the sprouts get to be a few inches tall before you try to put them into the ground. If they are too small when you try to transplant them, they will not survive very easily.
Kangaroo Paw Plant Care
- Grow Kangaroo Paw outdoors in moist but well-drained, humus-rich sandy loam in full sun.
- To prevent the spread of fungal spores, badly effected Kangaroo Paw leaves should be removed and burnt. In extreme cases, the application of the fungicide, copper oxychloride, may help retard the disease.
- Kangaroo Paws are also prone to snail and slug attack and special attention should be given to removing them.
- Use little water if Kangaroo Paws are growing near the coast, and more near inland.
- Water the Kangaroo Paw freely in spring and summer, applying a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
- Keep almost dry in winter.