Thursday, 18 August 2016

Blaugust 18, 2016: More Thrilling Tales of... THE BUTTERFLY

Oh hey! More plants!

Gotta get the pictures sorted though.

Santalum acuminatum, the Sweet Quandong, is well known for its delicious fruit, but it is less well known as a food plant for the Wood White butterfly (Delias aganippe). From 3-6m tall, S. acuminatum can thrive in all well-drained soil types in areas with a rainfall of 300mm or more and plenty of sun, it is an excellent option for gardeners in the Adelaide Plains and Murraylands. It may be difficult in colder hills gardens. As a hemi-parasite it requires host plants from which to take nutrients. Groundcovers such as Myoporum parvifolium or Kunzea pomifera (itself a great bushtucker plant) work well, though it is always helpful to plant Santalum near established Eucalyptus or Acacia species.

Eutaxia microphylla and Eutaxia diffusa are two pretty yellow and orange flowered peas that were for a time considered the one species, E. microphylla. Both grow to 1m with a spread of up to 1.5m. They occur in well drained soils other than limestone in areas with 400mm or more rainfall. Both are a food source for the caterpillars of the Fringed Heath-blue butterfly (Neolucia agricola agricola). E. diffusa tends to have a broader leaf, and occurs primarily in the Adelaide region, whereas E. microphylla has a much more narrow leaf to minimise water loss, and occurs much more broadly.

Acacia provincialis, the Wirilda, is a small tree occurring along creeks, swamps, and in moist gullies through the Mount Lofty Ranges, Monarto, and Kangaroo Island. It grows extremely rapidly, reaching 5-8m, and is suitable for soft screening. It is a caterpillar food plant for the Icilius Blue butterfly (Jalmenus icilius). It has a tendency to be short-lived, especially if water is not assured, but seeds readily. In high rainfall areas it can succeed further from water sources. A. provincialis is a fantastic pioneer species for revegetation works, particularly involving creek or river erosion control.

A question for you all! What are your favourite native plants and why?

1 comment:

  1. 'Delicious fruit'

    My favourite natives are caught up in the feelings they invoke, rather than what they are. Golden Wattle reminds me of my grandmother and long hot afternoons. Saltbush reminds me of travelling with my family as a kid, just like Yakka does.

    When I'm here though, I just yearn for the smell of the eucalypts, any eucalypts. The way they completely change the smell of the whole countryside is something that I never appreciated until I came over.