Having been confused by the apparent similarities between Ruby Saltbush, Enchylaena tomentosa var. tomentosa and Coast Bonefruit, Threlkeldia diffusa, I thought a comparison of the two would provide a useful investigation for the March Plant Study Group.
Regardless of both having very challenging small flowers we were able to identify sufficient characteristics that enabled us to confidently separate the two. A hand lens is all you need.
|Ruby Saltbush||Coast Bonefruit|
|Stems||Hairy / Tomentose||Smooth / Glabrous|
|Leaf texture||Hairy / Tomentose, especially when young||Smooth / Glabrous|
|Leaf size||5-20mm in length||5-15mm in length|
|Flower texture||Hairy / Tomentose||Smooth / Glabrous|
|Fruit Colour||Green turning Yellow or Red||Green turning Red / Purple in warmer months|
|Fruit Shape||Flattened soft berry-like fruit||Ovoid hard woody fruit|
Another summer flowering coastal plant, Cushion Bush, Leucophyta brownii, revealed its beautiful flowers under magnification.
To understand these flowers we needed to appreciate the fact that one flower is in fact a composite of many individual flowers known as florets, these florets containing all that is required for successful reproduction.
Leucophyta brownii is a member of the daisy family known as Asteraceae. The previous, now superseded name for this plant family was Compositae.