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Myoporum parvifolium.
Myoporum parvifolium. / SUR

Creeping Boobialla

  • This unassuming little plant with dainty foliage and white or pink star shaped flowers can cover a lot of ground in a short space of time

Myoporum parvifolium is also known as Creeping Boobialla, a name given to a similar-looking plant by the aboriginal people of Australia but adopted for this dwarf shrub. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family (figworts) which includes around 62 genera and nearly 2,000 different species including Buddleia, Verbascum and Nemesia.

Myoporum parvifolium is a low growing evergreen shrub with long trailing stems and white or pink, star-shaped flowers. The small leaves are fleshy with serrated edges and raised wart like growths on the surface. The star-shaped flowers form in clusters on short stalks and are about 3cm across. They are usually white or pale pink with purple spots. After flowering has finished small purple drupes (berries) form.

Creeping Boobialla needs a well-drained, sunny position although it will tolerate some shade. It is also resistant to frost, salt winds, hot sun and fire. The name Myoporum means ‘closed pores’ and refers to the warty-looking oil glands on the leaves which are believed to attract pollinating insects and deter pests. The oil, which does not smell very nice, is secreted in tiny amounts. It does not burn and this plant is recommended for fire prone areas. Parvifolium means ‘small leaves’.

Once established, Creeping Boobialla will form a dense mat approximately 25cm high with a spread of up to three metres. It is a perfect ground cover plant, suppressing weeds and helping to prevent soil erosion especially on dry slopes. It can trail along the ground or cascade down and looks stunning growing over low stone wall or the edge of a container. Clipping it back every year will keep it neat.

Propagation is from cuttings taken at any time of the year.