Weed of the Month-April 2019


(Moraea setifolia)

(Photos: Flower, E. Cousins, Cape Jervis; flowers and thread like leaves, SA SeedBank, https://spapps.environment.sa.gov.au/SeedsOfSA/speciesinformation.html?rid=2987)

This is a very little weed, just shin high …little in size, but not in its ability to spread, though. It is widely naturalized over large parts of SA, and consequently is regarded as an environmental weed here. About 10cm underground you will find lots of little bulbs, with fibrous coating. Above ground, you will see one leaf only per bulb, a long, narrow one like that in the photos above, which arches over the ground. The spring flowers are supported on a short, pale green stem. These flowers are actually quite pretty. The 6 pointy petals are presented as two layers of three, one layer sitting off-centre to the other. Pale purple with a darker central blotch and yellow markings, they do resemble a miniature iris. Originally from South Africa, the plant has made itself at home here. Kangaroos will eat the leaf (which remains after the flower dies off) and wombats will dig up and feed off the bulbs, especially in years of drought when not much other food is around.