Plant of the month: March 2017


(Lomandra effusa)

(Photos: E. Cousins, flowering plant; C. Schultz, leaves, leaf tips, Cape Jervis)

Lomandras, or mat rushes, are tufted, normally shin-high perennials with long, narrow, bluey-green leaves that are quite tough. There are several varieties growing at Cape Jervis, but this particular one, the scented mat rush, is probably the easiest to identify. How? Check out the tops of those blade-like leaves… they generally have rabbit ears! That is, instead of a single point at the end of the leaf, there are two sharp tips. It looks like the leaf has been eaten or otherwise damaged! From winter to spring, there are pretty clusters of creamy-white, scented flowers hidden in amongst the foliage. If you look carefully you might see that some plants have different flowers; although the separate male and female plants are hard to tell apart until they have seed. So start looking for these pretty soon in some grasslands near you!!


Weed of the month: March 2017


(Sparaxis villosa)

(Photos: E. Cousins; flower, patch of plants)

When you first see these flowers emerging in spring, you might think they are freesias. The flower has a similar ‘bent tubular’ look to it, and the leaves are flat, shin high and much the same green. However, they are really quite different. Freesia flowers form a group like a pan pipe, with about 5 per stem. Here, though, there is a single flower per stem. The flower itself is almost white in colour, with touches of yellow and purple…another difference. Also, the leaves are less pointy at the top, with a prominent centre vein.