|H. coccineum collection data from Australasian Virtual Herbarium|
Flowering usually occurs between November and March, during the Top End wet season, however flowers have been observed as early as October and as late as May. The flowers are deep-red or orange red and occur in dense clusters on long stiff stalks, which also arise from the base of the plant.
Fruit develop between November and March, and can linger until May. The fruit are red to black, fleshy capsules with three lobes. The mature fruit release a red-purple juice when crushed.
Distribution and habitat
Found in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Occurs in open woodland habitats on gravelly or shallow lateritic soils and sandstone.
The bulbous red root is chopped or crushed and boiled in water to release the red-brown dyes, while the purple shades are made from H. coccineum fruit.
Fibres such as the stripped leaves of Pandanus spiralis or the new leaves of Livistona humilis are added to the dye-bath, and later the colored fibre is used to make items such as baskets (Pandanus), string bags (Livistona) and fibre sculptures.
Suitable as a bedding or edging plant in native gardens.
The fruits can be used in floral arrangements.
Some sources report Indigenous Australians used the plant to treat snake-bite, and the dry stalks were used as fire-sticks.
Propagation and cultivation
- Bula’bula Arts Aboriginal Corporation (2013) at http://www.bulabula-arts.com/Site/our-art/aboriginal-fibre-art.html. Accessed 2 September 2013
- Wrigley, J.W. and Fagg, M. 2007 Australian Native Plants, Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia
- Atlas of Living Australia website at http://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=haemodorum+coccineum. Accessed 2 September 2013
- Smith, N., 2007, Native Plants for Top End Gardens, Greening Australia (NT) Ltd, Darwin, Australia
- Brock, J., 1988 Top End Native Plants, John Brock, Darwin, Australia
- The Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (2013) Australia’s Virtual Herbarium. http://avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?taxa=Haemodorum+coccineum#tab_mapView [Accessed 2 September 2013]
- Artback Northern Territory Arts Touring (2007) Recoil Education Kit at http://www.artbacknt.com.au/images/arts/recoil/pdf/teachersnotes.pdf. Accessed 2 September 2013