Plant of the Month: January 2014

Minnie DAISY

 (Minuria leptophylla)

    (Photos: E. Cousins, Trig Point, Cape Jervis)

You could easily think the name of this daisy was the mini, rather than the Minnie, given its size! You can see from the insect on the flower in the second photo that the flowers are only about 1-2 cms across. On the coast around Cape Jervis, the plant itself grows to ankle height only, with narrow, shiny green leaves. Flowers are white, with a bright yellow centre; sometimes the flowers are shades of pink or purple. You won’t find this plant out for much longer this year. It has already produced it seeds … two different kinds in the one flower head! Soon the leaves will die back in the heat and dryness of summer, but watch carefully for it reshooting in autumn.  Yes, this is another one of our summer dormant perennial plants.

Weed of the Month: January 2014


(Asphodelus fistulosus)


(Photos:$File/onion_weed_sa.jpg, )         

The numbers of this weed have been increasing over spring-early summer on the verges of Flinders Drive, towards the ferry terminal. Several of our volunteers have removed heaps near the bench seat and traffic sign. The plant grows to shin high, and is easily identified: the leaves have the same round, hollow, fleshy look of normal onions. However, it doesn’t produce a bulb like a ‘normal’ onion, because it isn’t really an onion. The flower stems produce star-shaped flowers (white with a stripe of reddish-brown), along the length of the stem. These are followed by berry-shaped fruit containing numerous seeds, thought to be viable for years. The plant can proliferate in disturbed agricultural land as well as on the road verges, and have a preference for drier regions. For small outbreaks, remove flowering stalks and seed heads, and dispose of carefully. The remainder of the plant can be dug up with its roots, and turned upside down to dry out and die. Large outbreaks are much harder to deal with, so be vigilant!

Plant of the Month: December 2013


 (Billardiera cymosa)



Named after Jacques de Labillardiere, a French botanist who visited Australia, this plant can be seen twining its way through low growing bushes on the coastal reserve at Cape Jervis. It’s not a very tall or invasive climber, and would look pretty in a home garden, maybe on a trellis.  The leaves are fairly narrow, and the flowers are bell-shaped, with five purple petals. These occur in groups of about 7 at the end of the branches. The mature fruit are edible; their tiny black seeds have an aniseed flavour, with over-ripe ones being sweet to some palates. Ripe ones that fell to the ground used to form part of Indigenous bush tucker. Edible fruit and easy propagation are two more reasons for growing them in your coastal garden!

Weed of the Month: December 2013


(Disa bracteata)



We normally are really happy to spot orchids, but the African weed orchid is not one in that category… ask some of the locals about the spread of these on their properties! The plant invades bushland where other native orchids would usually grow. It is a perennial, with the bits above ground growing annually from tubers which are renewed every year. This means there are often two tubers per plant, and both should be removed when weeding. The green leaves form a rosette, like some native orchids and lilies. The flower spike grows up to 75 cm tall, and appears late spring. When young, it looks something like an asparagus spear, although it is more brown than green. Prolific seed bearers (up to 2.5 million per plant per year!), they spread by seed being carried on the wind, in fur, etc.  

See this very good fact sheet from Trees for Life for more details on control: