Although Goodenia is a large genus of around 170 species, all but three are endemic to Australia. Two of the three species are found in New Guinea as well as Australia and the third species is restricted to Indonesia. The genus belongs to the family Goodeniaceae and are shrubs or herbs with much variety occurring in their form and habitat. Mostly the flower colour is yellow.
Goodenia affinis is native to Western Australia. It is a small perennial with basal rosettes of woolly, grey, oval leaves. The flowers are yellow with a diameter of up to 25mm. The flowers appear in spring either singly or in small sprays.
The large-flowered goodenia (Goodenia grandiflora) grows to 90cm and is an evergreen small shrub from the northern half of Australia. The stems are angular and often sticky with a covering of fine hairs. The tooth-edged leaves are around 5cm long and nearly as wide. The flowers are broad-winged and bright yellow, appearing from winter to summer.
Native to New South Wales and Queensland is Goodenia rotundifolia. The branches of this species may be upright or spreading. The leaves are bright green and rounded, with coarsely toothed edges and a covering of fine hairs. The yellow flowers appear singly or in small racemes. Flowering is from spring to summer.
Goodenia ovata grows to 1.5 metres and has a spread of 100cm. It is an evergreen perennial native to eastern Australia. The aromatic leaves are a glossy, light green, and oval to lance-shaped. The flowers are 25mm in diameter and appear on racemes in leaf axils from spring to summer. This species is a common understorey plant in moist temperate forests. It is quick to resprout after bushfires.
Goodenia lanata or Trailing Goodenia is found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. As the name suggests, it is a prostrate, trailing plant which spreads to 1 metre. It has dark green, toothed leaves and produces bright yellow flowers from October to March. It is a hardy groundcover which spreads readily by rooting at the nodes. With some protection it will tolerate coastal conditions and it is not affected by frost.
The Ivy Goodenia (Goodenia hederacea) is another prostrate type which spreads to 2 metres forming a dense mat. It has rounded, toothed leaves. Yellow to orange flowers are produced from October to February. It does best in a well-drained, sunny position, and spreads by layering or suckering. It is not affected by frosts.
All Goodenias require good drainage. Generally they like a sunny position although some will tolerate some shade. They appreciate a slow-release fertilizer and can be pruned after flowering if they start to become straggly.