|Positive ||LouisianaSweetPea ||On Jun 23, 2004, LouisianaSweetPea from Mount Hermon, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:
At the end of March, 2004, I purchased a small Golden Penda tree. It is growing healthily in coastal Louisiana (Zone 9a).
This evergreen tree from Australia is supposed to be relatively new to the United States, and is known as 'junjum' among aboriginal Australians, who use its hardwood for swords, spear points and digging sticks.
The Golden Penda, as it is commonly known here, is a medium-sized rainforest tree which may reach 65 feet in its natural environment but is usually smaller in cultivation (anywhere from 15 to 35 feet have been suggested). It responds well to pruning and may be kept to small-tree or large-shrub proportions if pruned annually.
Leaves are lance-shaped. New leaves start out red, contrasting beautifully with the older, glossy green foliage.
The flowers occur in clusters near the ends of the branches and are bright yellow and very conspicuous. The stamens are the principal feature of the flowers (just like its relatives, the eucalypts, bottlebrushes, etc).
Flowering occurs in summer and autumn. In sub-tropical and tropical areas it flowers reliably and often within two to three years from seed. However, while it will grow in temperate areas, flowering is less reliable.
Likes a rich, well-drained soil and moist conditions, but Xanthestemon chrysanthus has been known to tolerate very dry soil and light frosts. It is growing well here in coastal Louisiana in Zone 9a, but it is very young and has not flowered yet.
Propagation is easy from fresh seed but germination may be slow. No special pre-treatment of seed is required. Cuttings are also successful using hardened, current season's growth.
No known significant problems have been recorded.
A variegated form is available but grows more slowly and produces less flowers than the original species.
I know of two other cultivars:
Medium, open shrub with narrow leaves and off-white flowers.
Xanthostemon whitei (Red Penda)
Very large tree. New leaves are hairy. Yellow flowers are borne in clusters on ends of branches. Great tree for large properties.