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Northern Territory Government Australia
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Official Symbols - Floral Emblem

Desert Rose

Sturt's Desert Rose

Sturt's Desert Rose was adopted as the floral emblem of the Northern Territory in 1974. The Desert Rose has had many botanical names in the past and was officially called Gossypium sturtianum J. H. Willis var. sturtianum in 1947. Australian Cotton is probably a more apt name for the Desert Rose as it is actually a member of the Cotton Genus, Gossypium, rather than the Rose Genus, Rosa.

The Desert Rose is a small bushy plant, growing to a height of one and a half metres, sometimes higher with cultivation. It has dark green, round to oval shaped leaves. The petals of the flowers are mauve with a deep red marking at the base. Its flowers are similar to those of the Hibiscus, which belongs to the same family. The plant's fruit is capsule-shaped and contains small seeds covered in short hair - a characteristic of the cotton family.

The Desert Rose is an arid zone plant which grows best in dry regions on stony or rocky, sloping ground or in dry creek beds. It is found in the southern part of the Northern Territory Residents of Alice Springs often cultivate it as a garden shrub. It is also found in parts of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.


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