A perennial plant, the wax flower is a woody evergreen typically found in small shrubs. It can grow anywhere from 6 inches to 10 feet high. The plant has relatively small leaves, opposite in shape and somewhat pointy. As its name suggests, the plants’ leaves and stem have a wax-like feel to them. Most of the species have 10 stamens, with five arching petals. The petals are shaped in an umbel cluster, which means that the stalks of the plant form up into a central point and create a flat, curved area. It bears somewhat shell-like fruit, with a tough exterior. The wax flowers produce a large quantity of oil from their glands and are quite fragrant, giving off a citrusy-lemon scent when they are crushed. Colors can range from white to pink, and even purple.
Symbolism in Culture Within Australia, the wax flower is commonly used in wedding bouquets as a symbol of good fortune, happiness, and long-lasting love. Commercially it is wildly successful within Australia, with it being sold since the 1940s, and becoming the largest exported cut wildflower because of its tough and long-lasting nature. Alongside the Geraldton variety, a newer cultivar known as the pearl flower has been gaining popularity. The name chamelaucium is thought to stem from the old Greek words white dwarf, which refers to the plants’ small size and typically white-colored petals. Uncinatum refers to its hooked shaped leaves.