Plant of the Month -Jan 2018



(Sporobolus virginicus)

(Photos : E. Cousins, growth habit, foliage; at Cape Jervis)

This is a very low-growing tussocky grass at Cape Jervis. It is seldom over shin high; often it is only a few centimetres tall. It can spread over the ground the same way a strawberry does, by producing runners: a new horizontal branch grows from the base of the plant, then a new plant roots from the tip of that new branch. Each plant has many branches or stems, and each of these has many stiff green blades placed alternately (and almost flatly) along the branch. The blades are about 25mm long. There are also numerous non-hairy nodes along a branch. You will find this growing along the foreshore at Cape Jervis, since it likes the saline environment of a coast or sand dunes. So on your next coastal walk, look for a fairly prickly little fellow growing close to the ground, a bit like a miniature fir tree growing as a ground cover!