Waratahs belong to the genus Telopea, family Proteaceae. There are five species endemic to Australia, producing shades of bright red flowers during spring. There is a white form Telopea Wirrimbirra White which is a colour form of T. speciosissima . The original plant was discovered in the water catchment area at Kangaloon near Robertson, NSW.

These beautiful flowers are very popular and are often featured in native floral arrangements because of their striking appearance. In addition to the red, there are also white, pink and yellow flowers, having been selected and/or bred in cultivation.

The waratah are large shrubs or small trees, native to the south-eastern parts of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania).

The most well-known species in this genus is Telopea speciosissima, which has bright red flowers and is the New South Wales state emblem.

There are 5 species of Telopea including:

Images © Ausemade PL / Images © Katrina Leel

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Order: Proteales
  • Family: Proteaceae
  • Subfamily: Grevilleoideae
  • Tribe: Embothrieae
  • Subtribe: Embothriinae
  • Genus: Telopea


  1. The White Waratah by Don Tilby, Australian plants online, http://anpsa.org.au/APOL2008/oct08-s3.html