Carolyn’s Corner – April 2015

No tree branches – No worries! I’ll just use this garden stake to sun myself … thinks this adult bearded dragon (left photo). What a treat to see as we were doing a site visit on the “lower loop” near the start of the Heysen Trail / ferry terminal. The other lizard is also a bearded dragon, but a very young one, that I found while removing weedy gazanias from a remnant patch of scrub containing Lomandra effusa (scented mat rush) in my garden. Rushes, grasses and sedges provide great habitat (food and shelter) for lizards so it was not surprising that I would find one in this patch. We are including lots of different species of these important food and shelter plants, so we should start to see more and more lizards over the next few years.

Photos C. Schultz: Adult bearded dragon, juvenile bearded dragon

Next get together, 11 & 12 Apr 2015. Training & cake provided. We welcome new volunteers.

Contact Carolyn Schultz 0423 213 481.

Plant of the Month – April 2015


(Enchylaena tomentosa)


(Photos: E. Cousins; growth habit, fruits and leaves, close-up of fruit; Cape Jervis)

OK, the fruit shown in the close-up is ‘ruby’…but simultaneously on the bush you might see green, yellow, orange and red ones! The green ones are the new fruit, but the colour changes as those fruit ripen.  These are small (about 5mm), succulent and shaped like a squished ball. Flowers and fruit occur over most of the year, making this an important food source for birds. The sprawling shrub is low-growing, often just knee-high, though the branches can reach 1m. These are covered in cylindrical, fleshy blue-green leaves, about 1-2cm long. The leaves in turn are covered in fine hairs (‘tomentose’), which are responsible for the bush’s greyish colour, but also aid in reflecting heat which might otherwise damage the plant. Ruby saltbush is found in most poor soil types across Australia, from sand to clay, but prefers those that are slightly saline and not boggy. It is hardy, being drought and frost tolerant…handy on the peninsula!

Weed of the Month – April 2015


(Chamaesyce or Euphorbia drummondii)

(Photos: E. Cousins; growth habit, close up of leaf, tap root)

We recently found caustic weed on our lower site at Cape Jervis. If you have found it in your garden, you will know it is a persistent little sucker. It is an annual or short-lived perennial herb with a deep taproot. Smooth, thin red stems fan out from the centre and hug the ground; these stems can grow up to 20cm long, and can exude a corrosive, milky sap when damaged.  The oval-shaped leaves are blue-green with a reddish-purple blotch. They grow in pairs with very short stalks, opposite each other along the stems. The tiny flowers have no petals; they grow in small groups that are composed of one female flower surrounded by several male flowers; even so, the entire flower head is fairly inconspicuous. Seeds can germinate at any time, with the biggest flush in spring; then the plants grow quickly over summer.