(Boxthorn tree on anthill at Cape Jervis; close-up of berry, leaf and thorn. Photos E. Cousins)
This is a ‘weed of national significance’… meaning it is not just a problem in Cape Jervis, but across the country! Reason: it is persistence personified! A stiff shrub growing over head high, it has many branches, with leaves and sharp spikes clustered along the stems. The red berries of the boxthorn are eaten by birds and foxes; viable seeds are then excreted, and often left in the same area, leading to yet more bushes. The shrub’s spikes, growth habit, and efficient spreading of seed, mean boxthorn can grow into an impenetrable thicket, providing a haven for feral animals such as foxes and rabbits, while crowding out native plants.
Boxthorn belongs to the Solanacae family, as do tomatoes and tobacco.
To download a copy of the flyer – WEED OF THE MONTH March_boxthorn
Images from C. Schultz, http://malleenativeplants.com.au/more-on-kunzea-pomifera-muntries/;
http://www.yallaroo.com.au/Kunzea_pomifera.htm; E. Cousins, Sketch from It’s Blue with 5 Petals, KI Field Guide
You should see this native plant fruiting now, in the area between Fleurieu Ave and the coast. Look for small, dark red berries, on a prostrate woody shrub that can spread for more than 5 uc browser for pc metres. The leaves are small and shiny, and the spring flowers are white and fluffy. The edible berries were enjoyed by Indigenous Australians and are now part of the native food industry. In fact, the word pomifera reflects the fact that the fruit look like miniature apples, and some taste like spicy apples.
Olive oil, olives on pizza, olive tapenade, olives just to nibble on…many of us love these Mediterranean fruits and their by-products. It’s just a pity that what has been good commercially has become such a menace in our dry woodlands and adjacent, cleared land. Olive trees are long-lived, growing to 10m tall. Small white flowers in spring are followed by the fleshy seeds which darken from green to black over summer. Birds and foxes eat the fruit, spreading the seeds widely. Our dry summers, and the fact that olives grow well in most soil types, mean these seeds germinate prolifically. Tiny seedlings can be pulled by hand, but once the seedlings mature, the trees are hard to kill: just chopping them down is not sufficient, since they reshoot easily. You’ll see olives on the reserve off Fleurieu Ave, and along the coastline to Fishery’s Beach.
See the following NRM website for a fact sheet and a You Tube video on control of these pests: http://www.amlrnrm.sa.gov.au/Publicationsandresources/Factsheetspublications/Pestplants.aspx
To download a copy of this flyer – WEED OF THE MONTH February_olive
(Leaves; seed pods; flower. Photos E. Cousins)
Running Postman is a common, sun-loving ground cover around Cape Jervis. They like sandy soil, and are drought tolerant plants, so look for them off Flinders Drive, towards the Ferry Terminal. The wiry stems spread along the ground for up to 1.5 metres. Leaves occur in threes, and have wavy edges. The lovely red flowers occur singly or in pairs, in spring. Note the yellow spot at the centre. The seed pods are like long pea pods, but are dark red. They can be up to 5 cm long.
Follow link to download the flyer PLANT OF THE MONTH february_kennedia