(Photos: E. Cousins; growth habit, side view, close-up of flower, Cape Jervis)
As with January’s Plant of the Month (the Small Yellow Rush-lily), the Sea-lavender looks very dainty. It’s a real shorty, growing to shin high only. At the base of the plant, there is a flat rosette of tough dark green leaves which have bristly hairs on them. Then the branched flower spikes erupt above them, with sprays of funnel-shaped flowers. The individual flowers have 5 petals and are blue-purple, with maroon shades before opening. From November to February, you can see these flowering along the waterfront at Cape Jervis: not unexpected, since they tend to like shallow soil pockets, limestone, saline soil, and full sun. In addition, they are a common weed in overgrazed paddocks, and along roadsides. By the way, these are not really lavenders: they actually belong to the same family as plumbago!