Plant of the Month – December 2012

Satin Everlasting or Coast Everlasting

(Helichrysum leucopsideum)

One of our own! This native of South Australia is a perennial, growing about knee-high. Most perennial plants grow all year, but this one may die back to root stock in summer at Cape Jervis and other really dry places.

The flower heads appear in late spring to early summer, and like all everlastings, the flowers stay bright for quite a long time. The petal-like white bracts on the flowers have a satiny texture, hence its common name. These bracts spread out and bend backwards as the flowers age. The leaves are dark green on top, woolly underneath.

They like sandy or gravelly soils, dry places…and our coast. Look out for this one in the neighbourhood.

image. C. Schultz


Weed of the month – December 2012

Cyclops (Acacia cyclops)

Why cyclops? In ripe seed pods, each shiny black seed is surrounded by a ring of red, like a blood-shot eye. Cyclops was a mythical Greek giant who only had one eye. The old seed pods are really twisted…one way to identify this plant. The open pods often hang on the tree for years. The flowers are round, unlike those on Acacia longifolia ssp. sophorae, which can look similar if you only look at the leaves.

Cyclops thrives on limestone and sandy soils, and is very hardy even when exposed to salty winds. It survives these harsh conditions by growing in a dome shape, with dense foliage that often reaches to the ground. This allows soil to build up at the base, providing the plant with stability. Native to W.A., this plant is now a weed in S.A. due to its high rate of survival and its large dense spread allowing it to crowd out local plants.

Exterminate, Exterminate! This can be done by chopping at ground level – no poisoning required. Along with olive, it is a major target of our efforts at Cape Jervis.