Waratah (Telopea) is a genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees in the Proteaceae, native to southeastern Australia, from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. They have spirally arranged leaves 10-20 cm long and 2-3 cm broad with entire or serrated margins, and large, dense flowerheads 6-15 cm diameter with numerous small red flowers and a basal ring of red bracts. The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.
The New South Wales Waratah is native to areas in the Sydney geological basin, Central and South Coast districts, and in the Blue Mountains; it grows to about 4 m tall. It typically grows in sandy loam soils along ridges and plateaus. This waratah is endemic to New South Wales, but has now spread due to its popularity, to Victoria and even Tasmania.
Waratahs are popular, though somewhat tricky to grow, ornamental plants in gardens in Australia; several hybrids and cultivars have been developed, including some with creamy-white and pink flowers as well as the natural red. White forms of Telopea speciossisima are named Telopea "Wirrimbirra White" and T. "Shady Lady White", while T. "Shady Lady Pink" and T. "Shady Lady Red" are actually hybrids between Telopea speciosissima and Telopea oreades.