COAST SILVER WATTLE (WIRILDA)
Acacia uncifolia, previously Acacia retinodes
(Photo: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis; foliage, flower cluster.)
This acacia is a good one for attracting birds, butterflies and other insects to your garden. You can’t see this in the photos above, but the trunk of this upright tree is rough, and dark brown in colour. What you can see though are the long thin leaves, with a central vein. These leaves can be up to 20cm long, though the ones on this Cape Jervis specimen were much shorter. They are a green to grey-green colour, and contrast well with the creamy yellow flower clusters. The flowers form balls which then form in clusters along a common stalk. Like the leaves, the following seed pods can also be long… up to 14cm! The tree produces a gum, which Indigenous peoples softened in water, then ate for relief from chest pain.
(Photos: E. Cousins; 3 small plants along a walking trail, leaf and flower of French Lavender)
Hardy lavenders are plentiful in our gardens, particularly the English and French varieties. They may have self-seeded in your garden, which is great, but they also self-seed in bushland, with seeds carried on boots, or by wind, etc… not so great! The first photo above shows three healthy seedlings on the edge of a walking trail, over about 1 metre of path.
Easily identified by their aromatic smell and purple flowers these bushy shrubs grow to about knee high, with a dense habit. The leaves of the French Lavender shown are narrow with many lobes on both sides of the centre rib. Another weedy variety, Topped Lavender, has smooth-edged leaves; their flower spikes are topped with some very obvious purple ‘flags’ at the top. Lovely in gardens, with many uses … we just need to make sure that’s where they stay.