Nuytsia floribundaCommon name: WA Christmas Tree

Meaning of name: Nuytsia is named in honour of Pieter Nuyts, a member of the council of the Dutch East Indies who sailed along the south and west coasts of Australia in Gulde Zeepard in 1627 and named the land Pieter Nuyts Land. Floribunda is from the Latin words floris, meaning flower, and abundus, meaning abounding in.

Aboriginal name: Mooja.

Aboriginal use: There is conflicting information regarding Aboriginal use of this species depending on what you read.

Some say that the flowers of Nuytsia floribunda were soaked in water to make a sweet drink. The suckers on the roots were also eaten.

Others say that First Nations Australians avoided going near this sacred tree which holds the spirits of the dead. It is believed that to go too near to or touch the tree would disturb the spirits as they make their way to the land of the ancestors. 

Distribution: Occurs from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Notes: A tree to 8 metres tall. The orange flowers are produced from October to January. The tree is semi-parasitic. While it can survive for a few years without a host, it grows more strongly when it can take nutrients from another plants roots.

Associations: Castiarina placida

Castiarina rufipennis

References: Western Australian Plant Names and their Meanings, a Glossary. FA Sharr. 1996.

Flora of the Perth Region. NG Marchant, JR Wheeler, BL Rye, EM Bennett, NS Lander, TD Macfarlane. 1987.

Bush Tucker Plants of the South-West. B Daw, T Walley, G Keighery. 1997.

Anthropology from the Shed