Plant of the Month Tabernaemontana corymbosa- The Dwarf Pinwheel- By Mick O’Brien Dip.Hort(MAIH)

The Tabernaemontana genus- Syn. Ervatamia, contains around 100 species of evergreen trees and shrubs belonging to the family Apocynaceae, and hail from the tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific, including Australia, Asia, America and Africa to name a few. Tabernaemontana corymbosa ‘Dwarf Pinwheel’, is a superb example of a reliable, profuse flowering small shrub growing to 1 metre tall with fragrant white flowers shaped like a pinwheel or small propeller. Their glossy leaves still resemble a Gardenia- in appearance, except they are more elongated- ovate to lanceolate in shape. There are a few cultivars and trade names such as Tabernaemontana corymbosa ‘Sweet Love’, which grows to 2 metres tall and T. corymbosa ‘Little emerald’, a dwarf plant which also grows to 1 metre tall and wide, and of course- the well-known ‘Mock Gardenia’, Tabernaemontana divaricata, which grows to 2 metres tall, is sometimes marketed by nurseries as Ervatamia coronaria, I have become very fond of the hardy Tabernaemontana corymbosa ‘Dwarf Pinwheel’ and ‘Little Emerald’ cultivars as they have proven to be a reliable landscape planting specimens which can flower most of the year. They prefer a full sun to part shade aspect, and they grow well here on the coast on Bribie Island and surrounding districts.

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