What is Anigozanthos?
Anigozanthos is a small group of plants native to western Australia. Also known as cats paw or kangaroo paw depending on a specific species' flower shape, there are eleven Anigozanthos species and many more sub-species. Formerly known as Anigozanthos fuliginosus, Macropidia fuliginosa was referred to as the black kangaroo paw; it was moved to a monotypic genus of its own.
There are several kangaroo paw hybrids and Anigozanthos cultivars. Western Australia's floral emblem is the green and red kangaroo paw. Anigozanthos belongs to the Haemodoraceae bloodwort family. Kangaroo paw is grown commercially in the United States, Australia, Israel and Japan.
Anigozanthos are perennials that thrive in dry, sandy soils. Although they're native to southwest Australia, they grow in other types of soils and environments worldwide. Kangaroo paw is propagated from underground rhizomes; short, fragile, horizontal and fleshy, but characteristics vary from one Anigozanthos cultivar to another.
The plant's rooting system features sap, a critical element for survival in dry spells. Some species die in summer and sprout in autumn from the rhizome. Anigozanthos' basal rosette feature long leaves ranging in color from grayish-green to green. Some plant species have hairy leaves.
Long leafless stalks emerge from the rosette, growing up to two meters long. They eventually bud flowers. The stalks tend to be hairy and vary in color, height and size from one species to another. Although the tuberous flower buds also have hairs, they're colored and thus appear velvety.
Anigozanthos flowers range in color from black and orange to yellow and red. Anigozanthos manglesii is a dichromatic species. The tubular flower bud looks like a kangaroo, hence the reason the plant is known as a kangaroo paw. Each flower has six petals and the stalks of mature plants can bud up to ten flowers.
Popular Anigozanthos Species
Some popular Anigozanthos cultivars include: Anigozanthos flavidus (also known as the tall kangaroo paw), Anigozanthos humilis, Anigozanthos manglesii, Anigozanthos rufus and Anigozanthos viridis, among others.
If you want to decorate your outdoor space with the beautiful Anigozanthos flowers of your preferred color, browse our collection of gardening tools and supplies to get you started.