Mulla Mulla

Tall Mulla Mulla

Mention the Pilbara, and the first plant to spring to my mind is the Mulla Mulla.  We first travelled through the Pilbara in 2008, a year renowned for its wildflowers in Western Australia.  We were amazed at the variety of Mulla Mulla on display.  I recall seeing at least a dozen different species, many of which we have been unable to identify in our reference books and on the net.  There were fields of Mulla Mulla, and bushes over 1 metre high, shaped like elegant candelabra, and covered in blooms.  At the time I felt I was overindulgent in terms of the photos I took, but look back  now and wish I’d taken more.

Each species was beautiful, though I think the most stunning was the Royal Mulla Mulla with its flowers at least 20cm long.  We encountered a gorgeous specimen at the base of Jarndrunmunhna near the town of Tom Price.  I dragged Nirbeeja away from the campsite and her book to photograph her standing next to this plant, right on dusk, to give some idea of its scale.

We have recently seen several Green Mulla Mulla in flower around Alice Springs, and it made us ‘homesick’  for the Pilbara and its stately Mulla Mulla blooms.

The Mulla Mulla belongs to the genus Ptilotus.  Three species of Mulla Mulla are included in Ian White’s Australian Bush Flower Essences – the Mulla Mulla, the Pink Mulla Mulla and the Tall Mulla Mulla.