There are 11 species of Anigozanthos endemic to the southwest corner of Western Australia. Within the genus, there are two species groups which are differentiated by having branched or unbranched inflorescence. They are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with flat strap-shaped leaves, folded at the midrib.
The bird pollinated flowers are tubular and split lengthwise with the 6 lobed “claws” being on the upper side of the flower. Often theses flowers are brilliantly colored and are sometimes clothed by contrasting colored hairs.
Anigozanthos like a sunny and open position with excellent drainage. They may go dormant in summer if not supplied with any water. As with most Australian plants, use fertilizer sparingly and make sure there is little to no phosphorus. After blooming, remove old fans as low as possible. Protect plants from heavy frost.
The most common problem is Ink Spot Disease. Any leaves that blacken should be removed and disposed of. It is caused by a fungus which has air spores.
Can be propagated from seed or by division (especially for A. flavidus.) Seed is harvested in summer after the fruit has dried. Germination best immediately after harvest but seed does remain viable for several years. Sow seed into a sandy mix and cover with coarse sand. Germination should occur in 15-40 days. A. flavidus, A. humilis, A. manglesii, and A. viridis germinate reliably without pre-treatment but only A. flavidus has a relatively high rate of germination. Other species do not germinate dependably without pre-treatment. Put seeds in a constant temperature water bath 130 -140º F for 1-2 hours or cold stratification for 2-3 weeks. After germination, should be sprayed with a fungicide.
Division can be done either in the fall after flowering or in the early spring, but spring is preferable.
Name Derivation: Anigozanthos was named by French botanist Jacques de La Billardiere. The name either comes from the Greek words anoigo (to expand) or anises (unequal) and anthos (flower). The first would reference the flower being split, the second referring to the division of the floral tube into six unequal parts.
Common Name: Kangaroo Paws
Anigozanthos is in the family Haemodoraceae.