The feature flower for the 2016 Kings Park Festival is the stunning Black Kangaroo Paw (Macropidia fuliginosa).
Unlike all other Kangaroo Paws, this black and green beauty is not an Anigozanthos, but is closely related to them within the same family (Haemodoraceae). Macropidia is a monotypic genus, meaning there is only one species within the genus!
Its name Macropidia is derived from the zoological name for kangaroos (Macropus – which in turn is derived from Greek meaning large foot), and the species name fuliginosa is derived from Latin for 'abounding in soot' (in reference to the dark coloured hairs on the stems and flowers).
Only found in WA, Macropidia grows naturally on the northern sandplains between Perth and Geraldton. It normally flowers from late winter to early summer, so they will be looking absolutely gorgeous during the Kings Park Festival.
A finicky flower, they can be a challenge to grow in gardens as they don't respond well to humidity and are prone to inkspot (a common disease caused by fungus affecting many Kangaroo Paws). They are also tricky to propagate reliably, so many of the Macropidia grown for commercial purposes are produced via tissue culture techniques. Kings Park is lucky to have an expert team to grow them for your viewing pleasure in the gardens!