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Products > Lagunaria patersonia
Lagunaria patersonia - Primrose Tree
Image of Lagunaria patersonia
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [L. patersonii, Hort.]
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 10-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Lagunaria patersonia (Primrose Tree) - This is an evergreen tree that grows 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The oval leaves are olive green above and gray beneath. Flowers are pink fading to white and bloom in the summer to fall. Following bloom, fuzzy brown capsules form and hang on the tree for a long time containing seed surrounded by white fibers. Best in full sun but tolerates part day sun as well. Once established will require only occasional irrigation and it is adaptable to seaside conditions and take temperatures down to about 25 degrees F. A beautiful and adaptable tree but the possible interaction with the irritating seed fibers (akin to fiberglass) should be taken into account when determining placement in the garden. This seed has given this plant a second common name of 'Cow Itch Tree'. Lagunaria patersonia comes from Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Islands east of Australia and to the north of New Zealand. A subspecies long considered to also grow in the rainforest in Queensland, Australia is now considered to be a separate species, Lagunaria queenslandica. The genus name is in reference to this plant's resemblance to Lagunaea (a genus now subsumed into Hibiscus) that was named to honor Andrés Laguna de Segovia, a 16th century Spanish doctor. The specific epithet, long listed as "patersonii", is named for Colonel William Paterson, a Scottish soldier, explorer, Lieutenant governor, botanist and early settler of Tasmania. The spelling of this epithet has been the subject of some discussion and current thought is that the spelling "patersonii" though widely misapplied, is incorrect and the valid spelling is "patersonia". The name for this tree was originally published as Hibiscus patersonius by Henry Andrews in 1803 in the periodical Botanists' Repository for New and Rare Plants. In 1831, when George Don published his General History of the Dichlamydeous Plants he disagreed with the tree being classified as a Hibiscus and renamed it in the new genus Lagunaria. For some reason the misnomer patersonii became popular and stuck in the nursery trade, especially in the U.S. 

This information about Lagunaria patersonia displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.