(Photos: C. Schultz, buds and leaves; E. Cousins, flowers; C. Schultz, trunk )
Uncommon and classed as vulnerable at Cape Jervis, this eucalypt rarely tops a couple of metres in height here, though it will grow to about 10 m on Kangaroo Island. At Cape Jervis, they are stunted, multi-stemmed, sprawling mallee trees while on KI they can be more upright with a single stem. ‘rugosa’ is derived from the Latin ‘rugosos’ for ‘wrinkled’, so think of rough … but for the fruits and buds, not the bark! The bark is smooth and creamy-pink. White flowers appear in clusters from spring to autumn but these are not particularly showy. The buds are interesting though, as are the fruits. The buds form a group on a flattened stem, each bud on a small stalk or no stalk at all. Their caps have ridges on them, giving the roughness. These caps are also slightly flattened, and shorter than the base. The fruit are also slightly ribbed.
(Photos: https://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/weeds/khaki-weed, sighted 4-7-18)
Thankfully, we have not seen this weed on our own site at Cape Jervis, but it has been spotted at Fishery Beach, and we have certainly seen it on other sites. It likes to invade lawns so keep an eye out in yours, because it is hard to get rid of! A low growing plant, it has ground-hugging runners forming a dense mat, as each runner travels up to 60cm. The stems are reddish-green and a little hairy. New roots are produced at stem nodes, meaning patches of the plant can spread out quickly. Tight clusters of greenish-yellow flowers are produced at leaf junction, as can be seen in the photo above. These are fairly inconspicuous, but as the flowers mature into fruits, parts become really hard and you will notice them then, because you will be stepping on prickly burrs! Another thing you might notice from the photo above is that the paired leaves differ in size…one is a lot larger than the other. Each has a short stalk, a few hairs, an oval shape, and prominent veins on the underside. If you see this plant, let the Dept of Environment & Water know, as it is a declared and notifiable weed. Be careful you don’t carry any of the burrs off on your clothing…burrs (and hence seeds) are easily dispersed when caught in animal fur, on clothing or tyres.