(Photos: E. Cousins, shrub, leaf, flower; Cape Jervis)
September 1 is Wattle Day, and the photos above illustrate why we celebrate it. That colour jumps out at you and just has to brighten your day! And it is no wonder this particular wattle was chosen as the National Floral Emblem of Australia in 1998. ‘Pycnantha’ basically translates to “thick, dense, compact flowers”. Hard to know if the ‘thick’ and ‘dense’ refer to a single flower ball, or the profusion you can see in the clusters above, isn’t it? The tree itself is not large, at up to about 8m. Its trunk can be dark, almost black, in southern SA. The leaves are long and thin, curved with a dominant central vein. Flowers present as balls of bright yellow over winter-spring. Later, seed pods will form. These are quite long and narrow (about 12cm by 5mm), brown and straight. It can take 5-6 months for these pods to mature and release their black seeds.
(Photos: C. Schultz, flowers, leaves, shrub)
This is a beautiful garden shrub…so why have we chosen it as our “Weed of the Month”? Well, this plant was seen NOT in a garden, but along the drain in the reserve near Jakaka Ave. The plants are likely garden escapees, although we haven’t had time to check nearby gardens yet. The definition of a weed is a plant that grows where it shouldn’t. Who would have thought gazanias, arum lilies or olives would have become the pests they are? Lovely in gardens, big trouble in remnant vegetation. Back to Diosma…. The aromatic shrub grows about 1m high, with a compact form. Masses of small star-shaped pink flowers are produced over winter-spring, on feathery foliage. Drought and frost tolerant, these South African natives will look great in your garden. Just keep it there – pruning after flowering is a great way to stop seed spreading!