Anigozanthos, in Family Haemodoraceae > Subfamily Conostylidoideae has 11 or 12 species plus some subspecies.
Australian Kangaroo paws, and the smaller Cat’s paws come from Southwest Australia.
They are known by names such as the Little, Tall, Dwarf, Golden or Red and green kangaroo paw or the Common, Tall or Branched catspaw.
They are perennial herbs with red underground rhizomes and roots.
The grass or sword-like leaves form basal rosettes and their bases sheath the stem.
They may be in 2 ranks forming a fan and some have hairs but most are smooth.
Flowers are held at the top of a leafless stalk or scape up to nearly 3 m high.
The inflorescence can be branched or a spike with flowers on one or both sides.
Each branch can have up to 20 flowers around 3 cm long that are on short stalks.
There is a small bracteole under each flower and sometimes a bract at the base of each branch.
The scape and inflorescence are often covered in branched coloured hairs.
The perianth has 6 tepals commonly forming a tube that is wider at the base.
The tube is split on the ventral side and its 6 pointed lobes are erect or curved.
The outer surface has dense long coloured hairs responsible for most of the flower colour.
Colours include red, pink, yellow, orange, reddish-brown or green.
The 6 stamens insert onto the corolla tube and the yellow anthers lie outside the tube.
The red inferior ovary, covered in branched hairs has 3 locules.
The single green style, longer than the stamens has a small stigma.
The fruit are loculicidal capsules covered in long branched hairs.
Cultivated species are:
A. flavidus the Tall Kangaroo Paw with leaves nearly 1 m long and inflorescences up to 3 m high.
The scape is smooth but the branches and flowers are hairy.
Flowers are green or yellow-green but occasionally red, orange or pink.
A. humilis the Cat’s paw has leaves 20 cm long with hairs on the edge or all over.
The 1 m high unbranched inflorescence has 10 to 20 flowers in red, yellow, orange or pink.
A. manglesii the Red and green kangaroo paw has hairless leaves around 50 cm long.
The usually unbranched scape, sometimes over 1 m high has hairs on the upper part and the hairy flowers are green with a red ovary.
A. rufus the Red kangaroo paw has leaves 40 cm long and a scape up to 1 m high with dense red hairs.
The hairy flowers, on a spike are green or yellow-green.
All have been used in the production of the around 30 cultivars with A. flavidus being the most commonly used.