Plant of the Month – May 2014

COMMON EUTAXIA

or SMALL-LEAVED BUSH PEA

(Eutaxia microphylla)

    

(Photos: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis)

Like many plants growing in the windy coastal conditions of Cape Jervis, this is a shortie! It only grows to about 15cm tall, but can spread to about 1.5m, with many branches. So it makes a great groundcover. Add to that its drought tolerance, and its showy display of flowers, and you have a garden winner! The leaves are very small, at most 7mm long, and arranged along the stems in pairs. The ends of the branches are spiky. You might think at first glance this bush is a Pultenaea, because of the pea-flower shape. However, where the leaf stalks join the stems, there are no little papery bracts (stipules), which are common to Pultenaeas. The flowers are a combination of red and yellow-orange; look for them in spring time.

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