To the original inhabitants of Britain the evergreen plants of mistletoe, holly and ivy held deep religious significance and a rich green hue that made it the perfect decoration for their winter holidays. Later in history, British people continued the tradition of decorating the halls for Christmas. Other well-known kinds of Christmas plants include poinsettias, amaryllis and even the Christmas cactus. The practice of putting up a Christmas tree came into fashion right around the same time as the settlers were colonizing Australia. However the only conifers that grew in Australia were huge trees that were being rapidly deforested for their high quality timber. It was not possible for the colonists to have a Christmas tree like the ones back home in Europe because they simply would not grow there. To make due, Australian pioneers decked their halls and streets with an assortment of new flora that was discovered in the area. They were delighted to find many new kinds of flowers in Christmas colours that grew in the summer heat. Now the so-named varieties of Christmas bells, bushes, orchids and trees are an integral part of the Australian holiday tradition.

Christmas Bells (Blandfordiaceae Liliaceae)

Christmas Bells are a tufted, grass-like plant that sprouts a collection on bell-shaped flowers in the summertime. The cylindrical blossoms range in colour from a yellow-gold to deep red. Even in the hottest weather, the colour of the flowers does not fade, making them the perfect choice to adorn a Christmas table. In the 1800s they were usually collected in the forest by women and children. These days they are commercially grown in preparation for the Christmas season. According to the Australian National Herbarium, these wildflowers are also cultivated at home by many native plant enthusiasts.

Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum)

There are actually three different plants that are commonly referred to as 'Christmas Bush' in Australia and the nearby islands. The most well-known of the three is Ceratopetalum gummiferum, which displays sprays of star-shaped white and red flowers every summer. The sun-loving blooms are often added to bouquets or woven into garlands for decoration. Prostanthera lasianthos has white, mauve and purple sprays of flowers that also bloom in the summer heat. Bursaria spinosa is a hardy plant native to Tasmania. It has shiny green leaves that are very Christmas-y. In summer is covered in masses of white flowers which turn into an attractive, brown fruit that hangs like ornaments.

Christmas Orchid (Calanthe triplicate)

An orchid is a rare kind of flower that grows high in the trees of tropical rainforests. The fine architecture of their blossoms is accompanied by a delicate aroma that is rivalled by no other kind of flower on Earth. Native to the rainforests of Australia, the Christmas Orchid is a species with showy white flowers that bloom on a tall spike during the summer. Since orchids make such excellent potted plants, a Christmas Orchid is a touching sentiment to give someone during the Australian Christmas season. They prefer to live in heavy shade and moist yet well-drained mulch.

Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda)

Endemic to the deserts of Western Australia is a different kind of Christmas tree which is covered in bright yellow flowers every summer. Rather than being named after traditional European Christmas trees, these are named for their profusion of blooms in December. The Christmas Tree of Western Australian is a very picky plant that is extremely difficult to grow anywhere else on the planet. This is because they depend on local species of weeds to act as a host plant for proper nutrition. The tree oozes a sweet gummy substance from its bark that the Aboriginal Australians enjoy as a treat.

Eucalypts, Palms and Ferns

In a pinch, eucalyptus boughs, jungle ferns and palm fronds will do very well as Christmas garlands. Illustrations of merchants selling carts full of these plants can be seen in early Australian newspapers from the 1800s. Even in the modern age Australians have not been able to important the traditional kind of evergreen garland that is made from pine trees. But decorations made from sweet smelling eucalyptus, ancient jungle ferns and spikey palm fronds have a similar appeal that is distinctly Australian. Palm trees or even driftwood are often decorated like European Christmas trees.