Guide Marilyn’s flower of the month for January

Boronia crenulata (Aniseed Boronia) is a small shrub that seems to flower almost all year round in the Boronia garden. Right now the buds are about to bloom into its pink, four-petalled flowers. You might be surprised to know that Boronias are in the Rutaceae family of citruses. It is given its common name due to the aniseed-like smell from the oil glands in the leaves. Boronia is in honour of Franceso Borone, an Italian botanist of the late 1700s.

Pollination of the flower is carried out by a tiny moth that is active during the day. The moth lays its eggs in the flower and the larvae of the moth feed on the flower. This is an example of obligate mutualism, as the only thing that can pollinate the flower is the moth and the only thing that the larvae of the moth can feed on is the boronia flower. The intricate structure of the flower and the underneath of the moth match perfectly. They depend on each other for survival.

In the wild it can be found right through the South West corner of the state, from Perth around to Esperance. The Kings Park Boronia garden is located just past the big Boab, where large trees provide the perfect shady habit in which it likes to grow.