April has some hidden treasures if you look carefully.

Again I have found that the water-courses are places of special delights. Creeping Brookweed Samolus Repens var. repens, is a widespread small-leaved creeping plant of swamps and marshes. Keep an eye out for its small five petalled flowers which are usually white, but sometimes a luscious soft pink.

Creeping Brookweed

In the same areas you may find the Grass Daisy Brachyscome graminea, a pretty, single-stemmed, small white daisy with a yellow centre.

Grass Daisy

The Allen Noble Sanctuary is a sea of rich pink due to the massed flowering of Spotted Knotweed Persicaria decipiens. This low-growing, spreading plant has 15 cm-long green leaves, often with a dark blotch. The small flowers grow in long, slender, often paired spikes, at the ends of the stalks.

Spotted Knotweed

Growing with the Knotweed I discovered a new plant for me, Lesser Joyweed Alternanthera denticulata. This has a similar growth habit but has widely-spaced, paired, soft narrow leaves. The flowers are papery tufts of silvery-white growing at the bases of the leaves.

Lesser Joyweed

This month I am highlighting Coast Bonefruit Threlkeldia diffusa as my  sensory plant of the month. The small, succulent, hairless, almost cylindrical leaves are smooth and pleasant to touch. This prostrate scrambling plant can be found on salt marshes, coastal cliffs and secondary dunes.

Coast Bonefruit

In the salt mashes it often grows near Beaded Glasswort and Glaucous Goosefoot, which I wrote about last month. And, like them, it is developing delightful pink/red autumn colours, something I have never noticed until this year.

On the walks in the heathlands I will be on the lookout for Prickly Broom-heath Monotoca scoparia. It should be developing small cream flowers amongst the rigid, prickly foliage. I will be checking to see whether they are male or female plants. The male has several visible brownish stamens, and the female has one pale green ovary with stigma.

Prickly Broom-heath (female)

Autumn is a wonderful time to be on the lookout for the immensely varied and interesting seeds in this time of fruitfulness, such as on the Blackwood I mentioned last month. Seaberry Saltbush Rhagodia candolleana subsp. candolleana, a common coastal plant, which often scrambles profusely over other plants (including throughout my garden), is one of those coming into fruit. The clusters of berries are initially small and insignificant, but gradually turn into sprays of soft, juicy dark-red berries. I understand they were eaten by aborigines, but I would not recommend them as I understand that they taste quite bitter.

Seaberry Saltbush

Remember of course to take Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet on your walks.

Ellinor Campbell

 

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