ANNUAL BULBINE LILY
(Photos: from https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/1366, https://www.plant-world-seeds.com/images/item_images/000/001/551/large_square/BULBINE_SEMIBARBATA.JPG?1495388088)
Now doesn’t that yellow brighten up a gloomy winter’s day? You might have to wait another few months to see it around though. The flower of the bulbine lily appears in summer, with 6 bright yellow petals and some inner stamens. Three of these stamens are hairy, which you might be able to see in the second photo above. And since the flowers are only about 1 cm across, you might need a lens to see them in real life too! The entire plant is only ankle high, with cylindrical, fleshy leaves (like those of an onion only smaller and brighter). Above the open flower you would normally see more unopened flowers… a bit like a hyacinth: some dying, some open, some unopened flowers along a stem. So come summer, look out for these bright, rare plants along the coast in rocky places, or in the mallee, and enjoy!
(Gazania rigens, Gazania linearis)
(photo of Gazania linearis from http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/adelaidemtloftyranges)
We thought it would be beneficial to revisit some of the weeds we have looked at before, such as gazanias. These familiar natives of southern Africa can spread easily in coastal communities, because they withstand salt-laden winds and grow well in sandy soils. They also harbor white snails! Gazanias flower in bronze, yellow and orange shades, often with black markings. Gazania linearis has short, mostly underground stems and dark green leaves, while the stems of Gazania rigens form a mat above ground, and leaves are paler, more silvery. Either can form a monoculture, outcompeting native species for nutrients and moisture.
Gazania is now a declared plant under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004; it can’t be sold at nurseries etc., and it can’t be transported around the state. The Southern Fleurieu Coastal Action Plan gave gazanias a “priority threat rating” of 8, making them the second highest rated weed in the area, behind bridal creeper. If you want to grow something with similar colours, try a native such as the pretty, yellow Common Everlasting Daisy (Chrysacephalum apiculatum).
(For control measures, see the gazania fact sheet from Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges, which can be downloaded from http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/adelaidemtloftyranges; search for gazania, 2017)