News [ 43 items ]
Kangaroo Thorn, Prickly Wattle, Hedge Wattle
A dense bushy shrub 3x4m.
Dark brownish grey bark.
Dark green leaves. Oblong shaped with curved sharp tip. 0.8 to 3 cm x 2.5 to 7mm. 2 sharp spikes at the base of each leaf. Mid vein off center. New leaves are covered in hairs.
Yellow to golden round flowers 5 to 10mm in diameter. 1or2 on short stems in leaf axils. Flowering Winter & Spring.
Cylindrical brown pods, hairy, 4 to 7cm x 3.5mm, curved or straight.
Found in boggy sites, loam, clay, sand, lime, acid to neutral soils. Disturbed sites. Forms dense thickets. Declared a noxious weed in Victoria.
Collect seeds in December or January. Wear Gloves! Seeds ripen quickly in hot weather. Pour very hot water over seeds & leave soak overnight. Sow in Spring into sandy soil or propagating mix.
Provides good shelter for birds. Makes a formidable hedge.
A small tree, 4-8m tall.
Dark brown to grey bark. Smoother bark in young trees becoming rough & furrowed in older trees. Bark on branchlets is smooth & can have a white bloom on it.
Curved, sickle shaped leaves with thick stalks 5 to 20 cm x 0.5 to3.5cm, prominent mid vein, hanging downwards.
Fragrant, bright yellow flower balls, 6 to 10 mm diam. on thick stalks 5 to 15cm in groups of 20 to 80 . Budding throughout the year but finally flowering late Winter & Spring.
Brown, flat, straight or curved seedpods, 5 to 12 x 0.5 to 0.8 cm. Enclosing hard dark seeds. Ripe in Dec & Jan. Initially green turning brown on maturity, splitting along one side.
Drought, slightly saline, tolerant. Acid to neutral soils. Sand, loam, stony to clay soils. Can suffer yellowing leaves in limestone soils. Mature plants will be killed in bushfires but seeds will regenerate quickly after. Fast growing & popular for revegetation purposes.
Easily propagated. Pour boiling water over seed, leave to soak overnight, sow in propagating mix. Germinating seedlings have small oval leaflets opposite each other along a stem.
The tree gum was collected by indigenous people & utilised to make spear & axe bases. It was also used in syrup & food.
Acacia pycnantha has been cultivated commercially for tannin production as its bark produces more than any other species.
Its flowers have been used for perfume making. Popular with birds & bees.
Stiff, prickly shrub 0.5 -2 m high.
Stiff pointed leaves, prominent mid rib, 5 -25 x 1.5- 3mm.
1 solitary, 3 to 4.5 mm wide, cream to yellow, in the leaf axils on a flower stem (peduncle) 5-15mm long. Flowering Aug to Jan.
Seedpods, 4 7 cm x 3 -5 mmm, curved, pale brown wrinkled thickened surface, pointed tip scarcely constricted between seeds, thickened aril, folded once or twice at base of each seed. Dark brown seeds, 4.5 - 5.5 mm.
Collect dry seed from plant, break open pods to retrieve seed. Scarify seed before sowing. May also be propagate by cuttings. Prune after flowering. Great garden species, but not alongside paths or play areas. Tolerates dry periods. From Eyre Peninsula to near Bordertown, also the Grampians in Victoria.
This was formerly known as Casuarina stricta.
Small tree, 4-10m tall.
Naturally occurring in a wide range of habitats including rocky outcrops, coastal heathlands & plains in granite, sandy, limestone & clay soils.
Dark, fissured, hard bark.
Dropping branchlets of pendulous overlapping pine-like leaf structures with small teeth.
During winter the tree has small golden flowers, giving the tree a golden look..
Cylindrical woody cones 30-40mm long x 20-30mm across, with sharp protruding valves that open upon ripening to release the dark seeds.
Collect the cones at any time of the year by twisting off with your gloved hands, when they have turned to a darker grey-brown colour. Store dry container to collect the released seed. Sprinkle over propagation mix, cover lightly, in late Winter & Spring or direct sow into lightly tilthed soil. Should germinate in 14 days.
Useful for windbreaks & shelter belts. Long lived soil improver, by fixing nitrogen. A favourite food source for the Black Cockatoo, other birds & insects.
A drooping, 3m long, native semi parasitic clump commonly found on Eucalyptus.
Leaves. In pairs of narrow, tapered at end, yellowish-red green, curved, 3 to 3.5 cm x 5 to 30mm.
Orange to red flowers, in groups of 3, with stalks, pendulous. Flowering sporadically, Dec to June.
Yellowish to red, pear shaped fruit, 8 to 14mm long.
Attracts birds which spread the seed in their faeces on tree branches.
Amyema often causes stress to the host tree which causes further pressure especially during drought.
Coast Saltbush, Grey Saltbush
A common small to medium shrub up to waist tall found along the high tide areas & coastal sand dunes.
Silvery grey, soft, narrow ovate leaves with scales, 5 to 7 cm long.
Flowering from June to December, this photo was taken at Lady Bay in July. Pictured is the male flower a purplish, dense, globular cluster at the ends of branches. Female flowers occur along the stems, cream yellowish in colour.
Fruit is triangular/rhomboid shaped with a rounded base, 1-3mm long holding within a seed to 2mm.
Collect seed by gloved hand by stripping or shaking the branch into a container in warm, dry weather. Seed germination can be enhanced by soaking for 1 hour or rinsing for several minutes to remove the spongey material, alternatively by sowing the entire fruit just below propagation soil that has been mixed with soil taken from around the parent plant from Autumn to Spring.
Indigenous people ate the salty leaves raw or blanched them. A popular plant with birds & reptiles.
Shrub with varying height depending on local rainfall, from 1m to 7m. Found in South Australia, Victoria, NSW & Tasmania, in scrubland, heathland & moorland. New leaf growth is pale pink or pinkish brown, juvenile leaves & leaf tips often have fine toothed edges. Juvenile leaves 3 to 7cm long. Mature leaves have an alternative arrangement on stem & are narrow with a tapered end a prominent midrib underneath, 1.5 to 6 cm x 0.3 to 1.3cm wide, dull green on upper side & whitish underneath . Often appearing silver in the wind. Pale yellow flower spikes with grey or golden tinge on late bud, 5 to 10 cm x 4 to 6cm cone shaped flower in late Summer to Winter, attracting Birds, Fauna & Insects. Buds pale yellow or green in colour. Flowers mature & dry to develop woody follicles. Seedpods are a woody cylindrical cone 8 x 4 cm, containing follicle segments, each with 2 seeds. Seeds are black triangular 5mm attached to a1cm flat papery wing.
When fruits are dry & mature usually 12 months after flowering, cut from the plant & store in a dry warm place to allow follicles to fully open, shake the seed out, clean to remove any debris. Mature cones can be left in a warm oven at 120c for half an hour to help dislodge the seed. Sow seed just below the surface in seed raising bed in Winter to Spring, keep moist. Germinates in 4 to 6 weeks. Transplant into pots when seedlings have developed their first true leaves. Plant out when seedlings are about 12 months old. Keep well watered for first 12 months. Tolerates a variety of soils & condition but will grow spindly if planted in the shade. A good prune back to remove dried leaf matter & old cones will be beneficial to the plant & keep the bush compact.
Cuttings can be taken from firm young growth in August to October
Sweet Apple Berry
A sprawling shrub that will lightly climb nearby vegetation, 1 to 2 m. Narrow, oblong leaves, 2 to 3 cm long x 0.5 wide. Pretty mauve, blue sometimes creamy or pink 5 petal flowers, near the ends of branches. Sept to Dec. Hanging oblong fruits, to 2cm in length, fleshy, initially green, ripening to purplish red, with an aniseed taste. Indigenous people ate these raw or dried. Fruit contains many tiny black seeds.
Seeds can be collected from ripe fruit or from fruit that has been left on the plant until dry, usually mid summer. Rub fruits firmly to release from the broken capsule, It is important to remove all fleshy matter from the seed so soak in water for 48 hours & sieve through a fine sieve, retaining the seed & discarding the fleshy gunk. Spread seed on newspaper & leave in a dry spot, occasionally rubbing to dislodge the seed. Store seed in a dry place & sow in early spring, or sow immediately. Sow in propagating mix & cover lightly with mix or course sand. Billardiera takes a long time to germinate. Propagation by cuttings is also possible, semi hardwood cuttings with a heel taken in July/Aug.
Suitable for dappled shaded spots in the garden in well drained moist, sandy to loam locations.
A rare, delicate, small wiry shrub to 50cm high. Grows in forested areas.
Dark green oval leaves in 3 leaflets with rounded tips spaced along the smooth red stems.
Four pink pointed petal flowers in Spring & early Summer.
Small, 2mm black seeds. Nip off the mature fruits from the tips & place in a paper bag, keep dry & warm to catch the ripe ejecting seeds. Or place a cloth under the plant to catch the seed. Collect in Summer.
In Autumn or Spring, sprinkle seed over sandy soil, preferably soil taken from near the parent plant. Keep moist. Also can be grown from cuttings.
Christmas Bush, Sweet Bursaria, Native Box. Commonly occurs in the understory of woodlands in Eastern and Southern Australia. Reaches 10m high.
Very popular food for butterflies and moths, an ideal haven for small birds.
Bears small, fragrant, 5 petalled, white flowers in Summer.
Spines on branches, up to 1 cm long. Leaves, wedge shaped, 2 to 4.3 x 0.3 to 1.2 cm long, notched at the ends, fragrant when crushed.
Grey furrowed bark, smooth branches. Lives for 25 to 60 years, will re-sprout after fires the base.
Brown papery seed capsules containing seeds in terminal clusters. Easily collected in late Summer & Autumn when ripe, wearing gloves on still days, by hand or by shaking the branch & catching seed in a drop sheet on the ground . Chill the seed in the fridge for 3-4 weeks at 2-40c . Sprinkle lightly over propagating mix or original site soil, in late Autumn to Winter. Larger leaf & no spines from moister sites. Spinier, smaller leaf in drier sites. .
Suitable for home gardens. Prune to encourage a bushier plant.
Photos. Ron Taylor
Blue grass lily
A tufted perennial plant, up to 50cm tall with broad finger shaped fibrous roots that are edible.
The base leaves are crowded, grass like, up to 30cm long x 9 to 15mm wide.
Flowers in clusters of 1 to 3 arising along the stems. 6 petals, lilac pale blue petals 6 to 9mm long, yellow anthers, star like flowers which will spiral on itself after flowering. Flowers Sept to Feb.
Seeds are held in solitary partitions in a capsule.
Found in SA, VIC, NSW, TAS in grasslands & woodlands.
Available in nurseries. Tolerates sandy, loam or clay soils, prefers well drained but moist sites not in the shade.
Pink Fairy, Pink Fingers
Flower held on a stem 25cm high.
Long, thin leaf to 100mm long x 3to 4 mm wide.
1 to 5 flowers, sweet to musky scented. 30mm across with one upright petal & 4 lateral petals each 0.8 mm to 1.5cm long, pale greenish, pinkish white with a darker striped central labellum with yellow tips. Flowering August to October
.Flowering is followed by a non fleshy capsule that splits on maturity containing several seeds.
Found in alps, heathlands, woodland, scrub & forest in well drained soils in full or partial sun, in Eastern & South Eastern Australia including Tasmania. This plant is listed as endangered. Removal of plants from the wild leads to the death of the plant & is not recommended. Propagating the seed is extremely difficult.
Scraggly tree to 4m high.
Leaves are thick, rigid with pointed ends 3 to 8cm long x 4 to 7mm.
Red flowers with yellow tips, bottlebrush shaped.5 to 8 cm long x 4 to 5 diam. Spring & Summer.
Seed capsules, woody, in clusters along the stems containing numerous small seeds.
Cut mature seedpods off the plant when mature with secateurs & place in a warm dry container to collect the released seeds. Sprinkle seed over propagating mix & cover lightly with soil, keep moist. Seed germinates between 18 & 25 degrees. Direct sow in lightly tilthed soils. Appreciates a prune after flowering.
Excellent plant for birds & insects.
Woodland Bearded Orchid, Purple Beaded Orchid.
A common orchid
An erect single blue green leaf with a powdery white appearance, sometimes with a red base, folded (V shaped) 30 cm long.
The flower head can be 40cm tall, with 1 to 8 flowers usually only one at a time. A light green with reddish marked hood with a distinctive hanging hairy purple tongue. Flowering Oct to Nov.
1 to 5 flowers, sweet to musky scented. 30mm across with one upright petal & 4 lateral petals each 0.8 mm to 1.5cm long, pale greenish, pinkish white with a darker striped central labellum with yellow tips. Flowering August to October
.Do not transplant.
Found in heathlands & woodlands in SA, VIC, ACT, NSW & TAS
Leaves are triangular in cross section 2-5cm long x 4-10mm wide. Shiny green through to purplish in colour. Flowers are pink, purple or violet petals with white centres. 2-5 cm diameter. Many petals. Flowering October to February. Indigenous people ate the fruit & the foliage was baked. Juice from the leaves was used as an insect repellent.
Widely distributed in saline areas, coastal dunes & samphire flats. Tolerates a wide range of soils including sand, loam & clay. Easily propagated from cuttings. Low water requirement & maintenance once established. Excellent in rockeries. Best in full sun or partial shade. Useful for soil erosion control. Fast growing.
Cassytha glabella form disparLAURACEAE
Slender Devils Twine, Snotty Gobble, Tangled Dodder Laurel, Slender Dodder Laurel, Smooth Cassytha.
Perennial climber, parasitic on nearby vegetation.
Twisting yellow green stems, 0.5mm diam.
Small, white, 3 petal flowers on short spikes, 5 to 7 mm long, Spring & Summer. Mucous sweet tasting fruits, elongated or pear shaped, green, yellow or sometimes red fruit, 2.5 to 3.5mm long.
Leaves are present as tiny scales.
Germinates by seed in the soil & then attaches to a nearby plant, the root will then die & then the plant lives by suckering on the host plant.
Seed is spread by wind, water & animal dung. Can germinate by fragments which will regrow, therefore do not slash infestations.
Widespread. QLD, NSW,VIC,SA & TAS.
Attracts butterflies especially the Western Dusky Blue Butterfly of the genus Candalides.
Red or Purple Star Thistle.
Native to S & W Europe, although rarely found there nowadays has become a noxious weed across the globe.
Multi branched stems forming a dense mat to 1 m tall.
Dark green deeply lobed lowers leaves becoming less divided higher up, 2 to 8 cm x 1 to 3cm with course hairs.
Numerous flowers at the ends of branches or in leaf axils. 1.5 to 2 cm long, bright or pale purple sometimes pink, July to October with surrounding spikes 10 to 30 mm long in 1 to 3 pairs.
Each flower dries to produce about 1000 seeds per plant, that aren’t wind dispersed, rather falling close to the parent plant or being dispersed by water, machinery, fur, wool or contaminated hay.
Cultivation can stimulate germination so combined cultivation & herbicide application can be most effective as long as the thistles are treated at seedling stage, usually winter or spring. Individual plants can be dug out being sure to remove as much of the tap root as possible.
Old Mans Beard, Yalkari, Yalkura, Taaruk
Scrambler or climber covering nearby vegetation. Becomes woody with age. Found SA, WA, QLD, NSW, VIC,TAS.
Leaves are grouped into 3 lobes that are narrow about 1cm long that are divided or lobed.
Covered in many 4 petalled cream flowers late Winter to Spring. Male & female flowers on separate plants.
Feathery seedhead flowers that have a soft cotton wool effect attached to light brown 4mm seed following the flowering.
Easily collected seed, by hand in bunches in bunches & store until ready for use. Sow in Spring under 5mm of soil or fine sand or gravel, keep moist. In drier regions or when direct sowing, sow in mid Winter.
Indigenous people baked the roots in hot coals or the starchy roots where pounded into a dough & enjoyed. The leaves were bruised & rubbed onto skin sores or arthritic areas.
Kidney weed. Mercury weed(NZ)
Small herbaceous plant native to Australia & New Zealand.
Creeping plant that develops roots at the nodes.
Kidney shaped leaves, 0.5 to 2.5 cm across, hairy underneath.
Tiny greenish, creamy white flowers appearing at any time of the year usually Sept to Feb, usually Nov.
Fruit is a small hairy 2 lobed capsule.
Found in woodlands, forest & lawns, often associated with Eucalypts.
Often used a lawn substitute for shaded areas. Available in nurseries.
Seeds are a popular food with Pacific Black Duck (Anas supercilliosa).
Shrub to knee high with stiff branches.
Bright orange pea shaped flowers amongst the leaves Aug to Nov.
Green pods 1.5cmin length ripening to dark brown with 2 seeds inside.
Collect the ripening seeds in cloth bags or stockings tied over the ends of branches to protect from foraging ants or cut the pods of close to maturity & place in warm dry spot to dry, do this Dec to Feb.
Heat treat the seed in near boiling water for 30 sec & then top up with cold water, leave to soak overnight. Cover lightly with propagating mix, keep moist in a warm sunny spot.
Popular understory plant with birds, especially favoured by ants for the eating the aril. Found on many soil types.
Donkey Orchid, Wallflower Orchid.
Small upright herb.
2 or 3 long narrow, grasslike leaves, 10 to 20cm long x 6 to 10 mm wide.
Beautiful flowers on tall stems 12 to 35 cm tall. Yellow suffused with browns and purples. 2.5 cm across Modified petals with 2 lateral drooping petals that cross each other at the bottom & a central tongue petal. Flowering Sept to Oct.
The fruit is a non fleshy capsule containing 30 to 500 seeds which mature in a matter of weeks.
Underground tuber becomes dormant in Summer when the upper growth shrivels.
Grows in moist soil, in shaded sites in woodlands.
Ruby Saltbush, Barrier Saltbush
Low sprawling shrub, 1x1m.
Found throughout Australia in poor soils, especially saline sites. Very adaptable.
Evergreen semi- succulent, cylindrical, finger like leaves, up to 2cm long, grey in appearance.
Insignificant, single, axillary flowers in early Summer & Autumn. Followed by small (5mm diam), fruit, yellow ripening to red, with a central depression (pictured). Salty & sweet to taste. Attracts birds.
Propagate from seed or cuttings, they do self seed in gardens quiet readily. Pick ripe fruits, in summer, dry, gently rub on absorbent kitchen paper to remove the flesh, sow in germinating soil in Winter & Spring. Germinates in 1-4 weeks. Keep soil moist.
Photo: Ron Taylor
Upright shrub, with one main stem up to 1 m tall.
Small lance shaped leaves, with a pointed end to 1cm long along the stem, pungent. Green with the midrib more prominent underneath.
Beautiful pendulous clusters of pink, white or red with 5 fused petals into a tubular form, 1 to 2cm long, in the leaf axils along the stem. Sometimes with different colours on the same plant. Flowering Winter to Spring.
Many small seeds are held in a green, 5 valved capsule. When mature, in summer, bend the fruiting stems over a container to collect the fine seed which will fall out easily. Store in a warm, dark place until sowing time. In Spring, sprinkle seed over an acid potting mix & mist the fine seed in rather than covering it with soil. Keep in a warm position, well drained but moist position . This plant is not fond of the cold & can be difficult to propagate. Best planted in a similar place. It will benefit from pruning after slow release fertilizing at the end of Winter or beginning of Spring, being careful not to remove all the seeds. Can be grown successfully in pots. Cuttings can be taken from tip growth, 6 weeks after flowering, keep moist. Again propagation by cutting of this plant can be difficult.
Found in woodlands, heathlands & shrublands in acid soils. Will regenerate after fires well. Also in NSW, VIC, & TAS. Pink heath is the floral emblem of VIC
A small to medium sized rounded tree with many stems. 8 x 6 m.
Smooth grey, white or pink patchy bark.
Juvenile leaves are glossy green lance shaped. Adult leaves are thicker, grey green that are curved 10 x 2 cm.
Large fat pale flower buds with caps.
Cream or white flowers that are attached to the stem in groups of 3. Flowering throughout the year.
Large cup shaped woody seed pods, 2 x 2 cm with 5 sections containing reddish, grey or black 2mm seeds.
Easily grown from seed. Collect mature fruits & place in a container to retain the released seed. Sow in Spring, sprinkle over propagation mix, keep moist. In spring seed may be directly sprinkled over tilthed soil in Spring.
Occurs in southern Mount Lofty Ranges & Kangaroo Island. Will grow on a wide range of soils, dry soils & boggy soils.
Popular with all wild life as a source of food or habitat. Good windbreak.
Pink gum, Hill Gum
Small to medium tree to 15m, often stunted or crooked looking. Bark is smooth white or grey on upper branches with grey, brown rough bark shedding & flaking on lower tree, branchlets & twigs reddish in colour.
Leaves taper at the point & broadest at the base, 2.5 to 14cm long x 1.5 to 3 cm wide. Distinct mid vein. Juvenile leaves are shorter & wider. Cream or white flowers in clusters of 3-7 at terminal ends of branches, 1.5cm across. Flowering through out the year.
Woody capsules, 4-6mm. Pear to cylindrical shaped, peaked caps. E. fasiculosa drops its capsules readily. Releases dark seed amongst brown chaff. Collect seed capsules when ever available, late Summer preferable, storing in warm area to release seed. Best sown in Spring, lightly sprinkled over propagating mix & covered with a light gravel, keep warm & moist.
A popular wood for fence posts, firewood. Very attractive to bees & birds, insects & reptiles. Shady tree suitable for gardens, parks & roadsides. Tolerates sandy, clay, limestone & poor soils. Does not like waterlogged or saline environments
Mallee Box, Black Mallee, Quorn Mallee, Peppermint Box, South Australian Mallee.
Small tree 4 to 10 m. Multi or single stemmed.
Rough grey, brown bark.
Bright green to olive green leaves. Narrow or broad leaves, 5 to 1o cm x 7 to 25mm, with a mid rib quite distant from the leaf edge.
Buds are pear or club shaped with a rounded cap. In groups of 3 to 7, mostly in leaf axils.
White flowers from Spring to Winter.
Woody ovoid nuts 5 to 7 mm long x 5 to 6mm diam, depressed disc with enclosed 4 to 5 valves.
Occurs in southern SA & VIC.
Purple Cockatoo, Waxlip Orchid.
Beautiful slender 12 to 32 cm high stems, slender leaves.
2 or 3 long narrow, grasslike leaves, 10 to 20cm long x 6 to 10 mm wide.
5 petals, most commonly purple blue, white inner petal & yellow on inner throat, but variation in colour is common from deep purple to a rare white form, up to 6 cm in diam. The one pictured was 3cm diam. Flowers Aug to Oct.
Found in eastern Qld & central & eastern NSW, VIC, SA & TAS on undisturbed sites in forests & woodlands.
Difficult to cultivate & transplanted plants tend not to last long as they are dependant on a symbiotic soil fungi for nutrition.
Lavender grevillea, Varieties Victor Harbor, Tanunda, Aldinga.
Small, to 1m tall straggly untidy shrub. Variable leaves, rigid, sharp pointed, with inward rolling edges. Blue green above & paler underneath. Up to 10mm long.
Deep pink to red spiderlike typical grevillea flowers that occur throughout the year.
Endemic to SE SA & central VIC. Many differing varieties & so named. Available commercially. Will grow in pots. Can be propagated from seed but is easier from cuttings. Plant in a sunny position in the garden, will tolerate a semi shady position too.
Dwarf Hakea, Beaked Hakea, Wrinkled Hakea
A shrub from 1m sometimes to 2m.
Prickly, sharp pointed, 3cm leaves, grey/green, round or triangular in cross section.
Woody wrinkled pod, to 2cm, with a curved beak at the end, containing 2 papery black seeds.
Flowering late Winter to Spring, in clusters along the stem in leaf axils, whitish cream, 1cm flowers.
Collect pods when mature, with gloves & leave in a box in a warm, dry place until seeds dislodge or can be shaken out. Easy to propagate. Sow just beneath the soil or propagating mix in a sunny position. Sow in late Winter. Good garden plant. Bees & bird favourite.
Sandy, lime or loam soils. Moderately frost tolerant. Tolerant of all soil pH. Sunny position.
A prickly low bush up to 60cm high. Common in areas with higher rainfall. SA, VIC & TAS in well drained forests & scrublands.
Leaves are rigid, divided twice into three’s forming sharp points.
Buds have a red tinge( Photo of bud in October). Yellow flowers in dense spikes held within the foliage. Flowering in late Winter to early Summer.
Cone fruit, 1.5cm in diam with many seeds, ovoid in shape to 3 mm in length, many per cone.
Use gloves to collect the cones, twist or cut off the plant. Collect seeds at any time of the year. Place in a dry, warm place to dry. Peel outer layers off with care, the other layers will come away easier.
Sow seed in late Autumn or early Winter in well drained bush sand just below the surface. Keep moist in a sunny position.
Australian Hollyhock, Flood Mallow
Tall, woody at the base, shrub with an upright flowering stem to 2m.
Large velvety, soft leaves, light to mid green up to 20 cm across, 3 to 7 lobed.
Five petals, mauve, pink sometimes white, 12 to 25 mm, occurring solitary or in clusters in leaf axils. Hibiscus looking. Flowering mostly in Spring.
Grows in open woodlands & along creeklines & roads.
Annual or binennial. Suitable for gardens but are susceptible to slugs & snails. Dehead often. Prefers well drained sites, water well in summer. Tolerant of all soils.
Heath Tea-tree . Silky Tea-tree.
Scraggly shrub. 0.5-2.5m growing in shrub & woodland on poor soil. Tolerant of moist, poorly drained sites. Sandy, loam, clay soils. Acid to neutral soils. Frost tolerant.
Dull green leaves. Spatula shaped, broader toward the tip.4-10 x 1-3mm. Not spikey.
White or sometimes pink 5 petal flowers with a greenish cup center. 10-15mm across. Masses of flowers in Sept to Nov.
A non woody , stalkless capsule seedpod. 5 celled. That falls off after forming. Collect seed from seedpods before they fall & let seed fall into a dry, container.
Propogate under a sprinkle of soil mix. You can take cuttings of this plant too. They are commercially available. Grow about 50cm apart in a group. Prune annually.
Attracts insects & butterflies. Indigenous people used the wood for pegs & spears.
Totem pole, Cross-leaved Honey-myrtle
A common shrub from waist to above head high.1-4m tall.
Light blue-green leaves, paired, crowded, smooth above, dotted below.
4 to 15mm x 1to 3mm.. Light purple flowers, clusters, rounded or short spikes, upto 2 cm long, along the stem between the leaves, appearing Spring & Summer.
Woody cups embedded into the stem.
Grows in swampy or wet sites also sandy or rocky soils.
Popular garden shrub. Benefits from regular pruning.
Collect seed from 2+ year old plants after flowering any time of the year. Keep in a warm, dry place to collect released seeds.
Sow in propagation mix or use in direct seeding. Sow in Spring or early Summer, keep moist. Easily germinated in 10 days.
Popular with insects, bees & birds.
A small sized tree up to 10m tall.
Dark, rough bark.
Leaves, alternate along the branches to 1cm x 1-3mm. Pointed ends, lance shaped.
Fragrant, pale cream to white flowers similar to a bottlebrush, near the ends of branches. Flowering February to April.
Woody capsules, clustered along the stems, 0.5cm in diameter.
Collect seed capsules throughout the year, best in Summer. Place in a warm, dry place to collect the released seed.
Thinly sprinkle seed over propagating mix cover with fine gravel & keep moist. Sow in Spring.
Useful in revegetation projects. Direct sow in late Winter into lightly tilthed soil & press firmly. Germination may take several months.
Flowers attract bees & birds. Grows in woodlands on dry soils.
Twiggy Daisy bush
Straggly, many branched bush. 0.5 to 2m x 1 to 1.5m.
Small leaves, linear, dark green above paler underneath, rough to touch, rolled edges. 1 to 2 mm long. White to cream, small, daisy like flowers with strappy 2 to 10 ray florets, along the stem in leaf axils, 25mm wide. Flowering most of the year.
Found in open forests, gullies, prefers semi shade.
Good in gardens, benefits from pruning, plant under trees.
ORCHIDSOrchids belong to the angiosperm group of flowering plants and count a close evolutionary kinship with the ancient asparagus family. The angiosperm group arose 120 to 130 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period and it has been one of the most significant events in the history of the Earth. To this day researches are still challenged by the mystery of the origin of the angiosperms from the non-flowering gymnosperms, their rapid diversification and rise to dominance.
Orchids are the largest and most diverse plant family on the earth comprising 8% of all flowering species and to date number at 22,000 individual species with the number still increasing as more are discovered. Most frequently we are aware of the tropical orchids and their magnificent blooms, however there are many more small flowering varieties which easily escape our notice. A number of the later are found in Australia scattered in the eucalypt forest, woodlands and mallee where they are tucked away in the under story and generally pass unobserved.
Recent research has found that two factors have enabled the orchids to evolve into the vast number of different species. These are pollination and fungi.
Firstly it is the highly adaptable way individual species interact with the pollinators, especially the bees. It has been discovered that two species of adjacent living orchids were found, due to their individual morphology, to dab only a specific but different location on the bee with their pollen. The bee is the unwitting carrier of pollen from both orchids and the specific location ensures that pollen from one species can only be passed to an orchid of the same species. Specific customer service!
The second is the relationship of individual species of orchid to specific species of soil fungi. This is a symbiotic relationship with both parties benefiting, the orchid receiving essential minerals and trace elements from the fungi which in return receives sugars from the orchid. With this strategy different species of orchid can live side by side without direct competition.
Research on a number of tropical orchids from South-East Asia in contrast, found that they rely on a wide range of fungi and these provide the orchid with carbon. This relationship is vital for the orchids as they have no chlorophyll and cannot generate their own. A carbon isotope study revealed that the fungi were in fact acquiring the carbon from the roots of adjacent trees, with which they also have a relationship, and passing it on to the orchids.
An Australian parallel is the research work carried out by Associate Professor Mark Brundrett from the University of Western Australia, and published earlier this year. The subject of the study was the critically endangered orchid Rhizanthella gardneri which is fully subterranean and has no green parts. Although it still retains some chloroplasts 70% of the genes in the chloroplast have been lost. This orchid also has a symbiotic relationship with a specific fungi which in turn has a relationship with the roots of a broom bush from which nutrients are acquired and passed on to the orchid. There are only 50 known individuals left in the wild.
Woodland Bearded Greenhood, Bearded Greenhood
Upstanding orchid to 30cm high. A large rosette, pineapple like leaf base typically 30 to 50mm long.
A solitary dark green hooded top that is pinched in the middle with a pointed tip, & two downward pointing petals with a feathered yellow, hairy tongue that has a small dark brown knob at the end. 1 to 30mm long. Flowering Sept to Oct.
Found in VIC & SA in woodlands on clay loam soils. As with all orchid species they are extremely difficult to propagate & should never be taken from the wild.
Scarlet Mint Bush.
A compact shrub 0.3 to 1 m high.
Aromatic leaves, 1.5 to 6 mm in length x 0.5 to 1mm wide, terete or round in cross section.
Flowering throughout the year, but mostly in Spring. Single flowers along the stem, 8 to 11 mm tube. Usually known for being red, pink orange or yellow but this local specimen from Rapid Bay is mauve.
Best in dry conditions in full sun or partial shade. It will not withstand moderate frosts.
Found in NSW, VIC, SA & WA in shrublands & mallees.
Best propagated by cuttings as seeds prove to be difficult & slow to germinate. Annual tip pruning is best, not harsh pruning.
Kangaroo Apple, New Zealand nightshade.
Native to SA, VIC, TAS and NZ. Shrub to 3m high.
Leaves are dark green above & lighter below with conspicuous veins. Irregular smaller juvenile leaves, older leaves are larger in arrangement of 3, regular lance shaped, 150mm x 30 to 50mm.
Bluish purple 5 petalled flowers, 30-50mm across with bright yellow central anthers in clusters or singly appearing in Spring to Summer.
Following the flowers are the egg shaped berries which are bright orange when ripe, 20-30mm long. Unripe berries are poisonous. Ripe fruit was eaten by Tasmanian aborigines. Produces fruit when more than 2 years old.
Stems are green to purple often striped, hairless, round to polygonal in cross section.
Appears in disturbed sites, fast growing in most soil types except salt spray areas. Often used in areas high in heavy metal concentrations making it very useful for reclaiming old mine sites.
Propagation from seeds is easy, requiring no pre-treatment, cuttings should be taken from Spring to Autumn. Good quick screen & soil stabiliser plant that is unfortunately short lived 5 to 6 years in good conditions as older plants tend to split at the base which leads to wood rot. Such splitting could be prevented to a degree by corrective pruning from a young age. Difficult to obtain from nurseries. Prefers moist soil & full sun. Top growth may die back in winter.
Research on the steroid containing young leaves for use in contraceptives has taken place in the USSR, NZ, India & Egypt since the 1960s.
Green berries will cause a burning sensation to the tongue & mouth & are toxic to humans & stock.
Hand pull young seedlings or apply herbicide spray being careful to control outlying infestations 5km from the source target to reduce the seeds being spread by birds.
Spring rolling Grass, Hairy Spinifex, Rolling Spinifex, Beach Spinifex, Coastal Spinifex
An interesting looking coastal grass with attractive grey, silver leaves to 30cm on creeping runners several meters long. Unusual seed heads in large, 20cm diam circular heads of a collection of straw coloured seeds, 12mm. Often seen rolling in the wind along coastal & dune habitats. Female & male are flowers on separate plants, or some plants only produce male flowers. Male flowers are yellow brown on erect stems. Female flowers are grey, green on what is commonly recognised as the rolling seed head, between Nov to Jan. Runners where often utilised by indigenous people to make string. Propagate in Winter from shoot runners. Pioneer colonisers, binds loose sand.
Shrub to knee high. Leaves egg shaped, dark green & smooth above, paler, grey & somewhat hairy underneath. Flowers, off white, with 2 or 3 leaves per floral head, Spring or Summer. Seed capsule ovoid, 3mm in length, brownish black seed, less than 1mm & released from valves in the capsule.
Collect unopened fruits & let the valves open, or collect in a sheet left at the base of the plant in January, sprinkle seed over propagating mix cover with light gravel, keep moist. Sow seed in Autumn or Spring.
Beautiful in the garden. Likes sandy heath country near the coast.
Photo: Joy Mayberry
Found in the drier parts of southern SA, VIC & WA. Shrub or ground cover, 80 to 160 cm. Flowers most of the year particularly Spring.
Pink or mauve flowers with 5 petals, 1cm across on drooping stalks, cupped starlike.
Oblong shaped, soft green leaves, hairy or rough to the touch, slightly toothed edges often rolling under, prominent mid vein, 2 to 4 cm long, with 2 large leaf extensions in the junction of leaves & stem.
Seeds are held in a three celled capsule, splitting when ripe to release small black seeds. The empty capsule remains on the plant a long time.
Found in well drained woodlands in lime, loam, sandy & rocky soils, acid to neutral soils. Drought tolerant.
Maybe propagated from cuttings or seed, but germination percentage is low. Pruning mature plants is beneficial.
Small Yellow Rush-lily
Wiry, erect stems to 50cm.
Rhizomous roots, in clumps.
Leaves grass like.
Yellow flowers, 6 petals, twisting tightly when finished. Flowers in Summer.
Seed capsules with conical tip.
Found in sandy coastal sites, heath & mallee, common along roadside.
Photo: Joy Mayberry