The Allen Noble Sanctuary is a sea of pink due to the massed flowering of Slender 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.

Slender Knotweed
Slender Knotweed

In the heathlands, such as Ted’s Track at Aireys Inlet, Prickly Broom-heath, Monotoca scoparia, is developing small, cream, five-petalled flowers in short spikes in the leaf axils. I always check 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 male
Prickly Broom-heath male

Prickly Broom-heath female
Prickly Broom-heath female

Be careful when looking, as the plant is well named with the rigid foliage being very prickly.

On the clifftops and dunes Coast Daisy-bush, Olearia axillaris, is developing greyish buds in the leaf axils. These will grow into small, stalkless, creamy yellow flowers, which en masse give the bushes quite a glow. I really like the lovely greyish foliage that stands out amongst the other green plants. Try running your fingers along the soft silky foliage, and then crush the leaves for the pleasant aromatic smell. A plant for all our senses to enjoy!

Coast Daisy-bush
Coast Daisy-bush

Autumn is a wonderful time to be on the lookout for the varied and interesting seeds in this time of fruitfulness, such as Seaberry Saltbush, Rhagodia candolleana subsp. candolleana. This common coastal plant, which often scrambles profusely over other plants (including throughout my garden), is coming into fruit. The clusters of berries are initially small and insignificant, but on the female plants gradually turn into sprays of soft, juicy dark-red berries. Did you know there are male and female plants?

Seaberry Saltbush
Seaberry Saltbush

Small yellow berries (which may also be ruby red) have been developing on Ruby Salt-bush, Enchylaena tomentosa var. tomentosa, another coastal plant the Aborigines called Gurgudj.

Ruby Salt-bush
Ruby Salt-bush

I have masses of this cultivated in my garden, and for many years I confused it with Coast Bonefruit, Threlkeldia diffusa, which is more common in our area.

Coast Bonefruit
Coast Bonefruit

 

It also has small berries, but they are green to purplish. The similar cylindrical, succulent leaves are hairless, unlike the finely-haired leaves of Ruby Saltbush. In the plant study group we also got to view, through a microscope, the tiny flowers of these plants, which I had never noticed before as they are so inconspicuous.

You may really need to take Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet on your walks in order to identify many of the plants you may see.

Ellinor Campbell

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