Carolyn’s Corner – March 2015

Want to help protect your garden and the Cape from woody weeds? One  great way is to learn to recognise the young seedlings of Acacia cyclops and olives. In their first 6 months of life both are easily pulled out by hand. Cyclops grows quickly and can reach > 1 m x 1 m in 1-2 years, setting seed in 2-3 years. Cyclops and olives often germinate in the shade of shrubs such as Leucopogon (coastal beard heath) or in the ground covers muntries (Kunzea pomifera). I recently found 10 seedling in one old muntries, near Fleurieu Ave. Imagine how different the view would look in 2-3 years if they were left to grow. The easiest way to get good at recognising cyclops and olive seedlings, is to learn by doing. We  are happy to show you how..

Photos C. Schultz: Leucopogon + cyclops (circles); 10 cyclops hidden in muntries

 

Next get together, 11 & 12 Apr 2015. Training & cake provided.

We welcome new volunteers.  Contact Carolyn Schultz 0423 213 481.

Plant of the Month – March 2015

NITRE-BUSH

(Nitraria billardierei)

(Photos: E. Cousins; habit, fruit, leaves; all at Cape Jervis)

The nitre-bush is sometimes called the Native Grape. The photo of its ripe fruit was taken in early February: they are grape-shaped, and red or yellow. The ones on this particular bush were plump, and very edible! They are only about 1cm long though, so you would need a lot to make a meal of them, especially since the seed inside itself is large compared to the fruit.

Birds also like the fruit, which helps to spread those seeds. The nitre-bush grows as a dense, stiff shrub, with long, arching, tangled stems. The leaves are an olive green colour, and fairly elongated; flowers are small and white. This shrub likes over-grazed and hot, saline areas, so does well at Cape Jervis, where it helps to stabilize dunes. In Australia there is only one species in the genus Nitraria, but other species exist overseas … makes one wonder how that came about!

Weed of the Month – March 2015

COASTAL GALENIA

(Galenia pubescens)

(Photos: E. Cousins; growth habit, close-up of leaves and flowers)

There are some patches of coastal galenia near the start of the Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis. They occur as flat, sprawling patches about 1-2 metres across. The oval-shaped leaves are very small; like the stems, newer ones are covered in fine hairs, which you might be able to see in the second photo. You’ll also see tiny flowers at the leaf junctions. These are white, possibly with a pink tinge at the start, but turn yellow as they age. The leaves are normally a sage-green colour, but summer stress has changed the ones shown to a reddish-brown in places! Galenia is a common environmental weed around the coast of SA. It likes sandy soils and disturbed sites… in the photo above, the clumps are on a path!  It can be difficult to eradicate when established.