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Plant Highlight: Correa ‘Ivory Bells’

February 2007

Correa is an Australian genus in the Rutaceae, or Rue Family.  This is the same family to which citrus belong.  The correas are small to medium-size evergreen shrubs, many with leaves which are hairy or felted on the lower surface.  Most species flower during the winter months, and the flowers have a tubular corolla composed of 4 fused petals, usually separating and flaring at the tips.

Correa ‘Ivory Bells’ is a hybrid of garden origin which was originally produced in San Francisco.  It is believed to be a cross between Correa alba and C. backhousiana.  It is a small shrub attaining a height of about 4 to 5 feet (1½ m), with inch-long (25 cm) oval deep-green leaves which are paler and felted on the underside.  The bell-like pendent flowers are creamy white and about ¾ inch (18 cm) long.  It prefers well-drained soils and benefits from a little shade in hotter areas.  Though it requires occasional watering in the summer, it is quite drought-tolerant once established, and is frost-tolerant as well.