MORE COASTAL PLANTS - part four
Horticultural information courtesy of Launceston Field Naturalist Club
and "Coastal Plants of Tasmania" Plant Identikit


 
Veronica formosa VERONICA FORMOSA            Scrophulariaceae
Speedwell Bush

Shrub to 2 metres with slender erect branches, scaly where leaves have fallen. Leaves
7-15mm, smooth, lanceolate, spreading or recurved with a broad base fused to the stem,
in opposite pairs, making four vertical rows. Flowers 4 petalled, pale to lilac-blue with two long purplish stamens, in loose axillary racemes towards the ends of branches. Fruit 2-lobed inflated capsules which split from the top and remain on bushes long after seed has been shed. Flowering September-November. Widely distributed on rocky hillsides in the north and along some river banks  in the east; coastal to about 1250 metres. Tas endemic.


 
Thelionema caespitosum
THELIONEMA CAESPITOSUM            Liliaceae
Blue Grass Lily

A lily with grass-like leaves, to 30cm high, often in small tussocks. Flowers pale yellow or blue, star-like in a branched influorescence, 6 perianth members, 6 stamens, yellow and bent in the open flower, stamens and anthers yellow, surrounding ovary. Fruit a capsule.
Very common in coastal heaths and wet soaks. Flowering November-December. Tas, Vic, NSW, Qld, WA

 
 
PELARGONIUM AUSTRALE                Geraniaceae
Southern Storksbill

Low growing herb found on rocky outcrops on the coast or in grasslands and dry forests.
Ovate to round, soft velvety leaves, often with shallow lobes, green but turning
orange-red. Flowers in long-stalked clusters of  8-10, varying in colour from almost white with purple veining to pink or mauve.  Cultivation: likes most soils in full sun. Temperate regions.

Pelargonium australe


TETRAGONIA IMPLEXICOMA           
Aizoaceae
Ice Plant or native spinach


Tetragonia implexicoma  
A creeping succulent with glistening diamond shaped leaves, about 4 cm long, on prostrate branches up to 2 m in length. Flowers small and yellow, on long slender stalks. Fruit red, and globular with the dried flower persistant on top. It is also known as Warrigal Greens and was introduced to Europe in the 1820s - an early export of bush tucker plants. The leaves are a pleasant substitute for spinach and the edible summer-ripening fruit can also be used as a dye. It’s also a Penguin friendly plant, creating a natural beach umbrella effect as it scrambles over rocks and fallen branches.

Propagation is either from the dried fruit, or for quicker results, from tip cuttings taken in January-February which, like most succulents, grow easily. Once roots have developed it spreads rapidly making it an ideal coloniser plant for disturbed sites.

Flowering period - spring and summer.
(Information courtesy of the Understorey Network)

WARMING TO THE ICE PLANTS


STYLIDIUM ARMERIA
(formerly included in S. graminifolium)      Stylidaceae
Trigger Plant

A basal rosette of leaves with one or more spikes carrying pink flowers with a central, sensitive column, and growing in exposed coastal sites, often within reach of salt spray)
around southern Tasmania, with a limited distribution on the mainland. 

This is a robust plant with leaves up to 40 cm long and 2 cm broad clustered in a rosette. Numerous flowers are borne on unbranched spikes up to 75 cm tall. Pollen is distributed when the sensitive column (formed by the joining of the stigma, style and stamens) is activated by insects visiting the flower. There are four obvious pink petals and a smaller modified fifth petal (the labellum). There are small white projections at the throat of the flower.

Flowering: Spring to late summer.
Cultivation: May be propagated from seed and makes an excellent pot plant but may not be reliable in the garden
.
Stylidium armeria


Glycine clandestina

GLYCINE CLANDESTINA                    Fabaceae

A delicate perennial climber with pale bluish-purple pea flowers. The slender stems will grow to a metre or more. The trifoliate leaves have a longish stalk (to 4cm) with long narrow leaflets. The flower stalk arises from the leaf axil and carries 8-20 flowers. The pods are straight and up to 3cm long. The stems, leaves and pods maybe with or without hairs.

Season: Spring and summer.

Distribution: east and north coasts and central plateau.
Propagation: from seed soaked in boiling water, or cuttings. Once established the woody root allows tnis plant to cope with dry periods.

NB Another species, Glycine latrobeana occurs in Tasmania but is rare, has clover-like leaves, and hardly twines.   Glycine hispada is the cultivated soya bean.





LEUCOPHYTA BROWNII                    Asteraceae
(formerly Calocephalus brownii)

Cushion Bush, Snow Bush
Leucophyta brownii
A rigid spreading shrub with many wiry interlacing branches forming silvery mounds on coastal cliffs and headlands. Leaves narrow-linear 2-5 mm long, pressed to the branches, both leaves and branches white with blanketing hairs. Clusters of flower heads terminal, spherical, consisting of numerous tiny heads of only 2 or 3 florets, appearing white except when the pollen is liberated.. When mature the seeds become airborne by a ring of small stiff bristles.
Flowering September-February. Locally common particularly in the north of Tasmania, forming wind - pruned cushions to 1 m high on open coastal dunes and cliffs.
Tas, Vic, NSW, SA, WA
Information courtesy of  Launceston Field Naturalists Club


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