(Photos : E. Cousins, foliage, C. Schultz, flower head; at Cape Jervis)
This bushy shrub lives up to its name…or its name lives up to it! The leaves have a definite indentation at their tips, giving them a heart or wedge shape. The leaves are smooth, as you can see in the photo. What you can’t see is that they are hairy underneath. The star shaped flowers occur in dense little clusters, and are obviously very attractive to ants (see second photo above)!!! While the flower heads are whitish, the seed heads are blackish. These shrubs like the sand and limestone of the coast, but are still rare around the Fleurieu. In fact, this is the only plant we know of and unfortunately no seed formed this year.
(Fumaria capreolata)(Photos: E. Cousins, plant; close-up of flower head)
This scrambling weed is found in damp soils along creek banks, etc. Its soft, hairless foliage is heavily lobed (a bit like flat parsley leaves in shape, and maidenhair fern in softness). The droopy flowers are tubular, clustered on a large bract. Each flower is white, tipped with a distinctive purple-red blotch. About 3 weeks after the first flowers appear, seeds are already maturing. These can stay viable for years: 3-5 years if they remain in the top 5 cm of soil, but up to 20 years if they have been carried 15cm down e.g. by ants or soil disturbance.