Scaevola is a genus of flowering plants in the Goodenia family, Goodeniaceae. It consists of more than 130 tropical species, with the centre of diversity being Australia and Polynesia. Common names for Scaevola species include scaevolas, fan-flowers, half-flowers, and naupaka, the fan flower's Hawaiian name. The flowers are shaped as if they have been cut in half. The generic name means "left-handed" in Latin.
Many legends have been told to explain the formation of the naupaka's unique half flowers. In one version a woman tears the flower in half after a quarrel with her lover. The gods, angered, turn all naupaka flowers into half flowers and the two lovers remained separated while the man is destined to search in vain for another whole flower.
Scaevola is the only Goodeniaceae genus that is widespread outside of Australia. In at least six separate dispersals, about 40 species have spread throughout the Pacific Basin, with a few reaching the tropical coasts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Hawaiian Islands are home to ten Scaevola species, nine of which are endemic. Eight of the indigenous species are the result of a single colonisation event. Scaevola aemula (Fairy Fan-flower or Common Fan-flower, shown here) is a small shrub native to southern Australia.
It grows to 50 cm in height and produces white or blue flowers in spikes up to 24 cm long from August to March in its native range. These are followed by rounded, wrinkled berries to 4.5 mm in length. The species occurs in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The species is thought to be the most commonly cultivated of the genus Scaevola, and a large number of cultivars have been developed. Most of these are mat-forming to a height of 12 cm and spreading up to 1 metre in width.
It prefers a sunny or partially shaded, well-drained position and tolerates salt spray and periods of drought. Pruning and pinching of tip growth may be carried out to shape the plant. Propagation is from cuttings or by layering.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.