Weed of the month: February

FREESIA

(Freesia cultivar)

(Photos: C. Schultz, a single flower, and a small clump with lots of buds at Cape Jervis)

This scented South African garden plant is now naturalised in many areas of bushland in South Australia. You won’t see it just yet though. Dormant over summer, the underground corms (bulbs) are waiting for winter-spring, when the soft, pale green leaves appear. These individually are flat, but together form a fan shape. The flowering stem can grow to about 40 cm, with kinks just before each of the flowers. The kinks give the flower head a look like a pan flute! The 6 ‘petals’ of the flowers are 3-5mm long, fused together at the base. In the bushland runaways, these petals are normally a creamy white, with possible hints of purple. Modern hybrid cultivars often come in many other colours but are not as scented though.