Scientific name: Blandfordia grandiflora
- Queensland: Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992)
- National: Not listed (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)
What does it look like?
Christmas bells has pretty tubular flowers that form around Christmas time, giving them their common name. Although the flowers make it easily recognisable, many of the plant’s other characteristics can be extremely variable.
The 5cm flowers form on the end of a single erect leafless stem up to one metre tall. They can form singly or in clusters of up to 20, but around six flowers on average. They are most often bright red with yellow tips, but may be completely golden yellow, or sometimes with a shade of orange in between. The grass-like leaves are up to 70cm long and form a tuft around the plant’s base – when not in bloom, the plant is inconspicuous and easily overlooked. The papery seed pods are 5-6cm long and pointed at the top.
Where is it found?
There are only four species in the genus Blandfordia. All have similar red and yellow bell flowers, and all are commonly called Christmas bells, but they are found in different areas and habitats.
B. grandiflora is the only species found in Queensland.
What is threatening it?
- Extensive development in coastal areas has meant a reduction in the available habitat for Christmas bells.
- It is considered locally extinct on North Stradbroke Island, and this is thought to be due to changed fire regimes in swamps.
- It is a small, slow-growing plant, so it can easily be outgrown by other plants and especially vigorous weeds.
- The beautiful flowers were popular with wildflower gatherers and prior to the plant being protected, many were harvested which may have also contributed to the plant’s decline.
Christmas bells is a protected plant, which means that removing any part of it from the wild is prohibited. This includes the seeds – a special permit must be obtained to collect seeds from this species.
Ongoing weed management around the Redlands Coast reduces the impact on many native plants, including Christmas bells, which can be outcompeted by invasive plants.
Did you know…?
Christmas bells featured on a 1/6 postage stamp issued in 1960, and also on a 5c Christmas stamp issued in 1967.
How you can help
Manage environmental weeds on your property - see IndigiScapes’ brochure entitled Environmental Weeds of the Redlands [PDF, 5.0MB] or visit the centre for help identifying weeds and tips on how to remove them and stop them from spreading.
Record your sightings on the Atlas of Living Australia.