Plant of the Month – December 2018


(Brachyscome cuneifolia)

(Photos: C. Schultz; Whole plant, flower and seed; Lands End, Cape Jervis)

There are several pretty daisies on the Fleurieu – the minnie daisy, the satin everlasting, and this one. It is only shin high, with a rosette of leaves at the base. ‘Folium’ means leaf and ‘cuneus’ means wedge, in Latin, hence the common name. The leaves are lobed, and pubescent … which is a botanist’s way of saying they have hairs. Actually, the ‘…come’ part of Brachyscome comes from a Greek word for hair, but the hair on a seed which aids dispersal, not the hair on the leaf! The spring flowers are like your typical daisy… white with a yellow centre, so how can you tell this daisy from others? Well, the SA Seedbank helped out here. You actually need to see the seeds to be sure you have the name right. The seed are flat brown ovals, with tiny hairs on broad margins. The wedge-leaf daisy is rare on the Fleurieu, so we are hoping the seed germinate!

Weed of the Month – December 2018


(Vicia sativa)

(Photos: E.Cousins, Cape Jervis; a stem, with leaves and seedpods; back of leaf)

There are at least three weedy vetches: the common (or sown), the hairy and the spurred. All are weak annual herbs, with long twining stems. This particular one, sown vetch, can be identified by several leaf characteristics. Firstly, leaves are paired and opposite each other on the stems. Secondly, each of the leaves has a broad flattish top, with a point at the centre top. This can be seen clearly in the second photo above. Also, the leaves are hairy, front and back, also clearly visible in the second photo! The springtime flowers look like those on a sweet pea, but occur singly or in pairs at a leaf junction, and not on a long stem like the sweet pea. These flowers are purply-red to purple in colour. The seedpods also look like those on sweet peas, etc… long straight pods that go brown on ripening. The picture above on the left shows that multiple pods on a stem are common. Originally a fodder plant, this is now a weed over south-east SA.