Plant of the Month – September 2018


(Pelargonium australe)

(Photos: C. Schultz, flowers; a plant at the end of summer)

Another of the little herbaceous plants, this is rare around Cape Jervis. It will only grow about ankle-high, with leaves about 3cm across, so it could be easy to miss. However, it will be flowering over late spring and summer, so watch for the clusters of pale pink flowers then. They will have purple-red veins to help you spot them! The clusters sit above the plant, so that’s another help. Notice how the flower petals separate out as a group of two at the top, then three below. This is a typical feature of pelargoniums. The leaves are pale green with velvety hairs; leaf stems (petioles) are long. The roots of these butterfly-attracting little pelargoniums were an indigenous food source. They like coastal dunes and arid areas, so if you have sandy, free-draining soil, you might like to try these. Prune them hard after flowering to encourage new growth.