Alternanthera nana

Posted on Updated on

Alternanthera nanaFamily: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera
Common name: Hairy Joyweed
ALA reference

I have previously commented that this species was not nearly as common in the reserve as Alternanthera denticulata. However the long dry spell followed by the heavy rain has caused an almost explosive germination of the dormant seed bank. This is both a blessing and a curse because it has affected both the native seeds and the weed seeds alike. This photo shows some of the hundreds of seedlings surrounding a few plants of Alternanthera nana. The plant in the top left of the photo is Einadia trigonos subsp. stellulata (Fishweed – so named because of the smell of its crushed leaves). (February 2013)

This is plant that bushcarers should learn to recognise because it can easily be mistaken for Alternanthera pungens (Khaki Weed). A. pungens is a serious pest in all mainland states and has been declared a class B and class C weed in the Northern Territory. The flowers and seeds of Khaki Weed are surrounded by small very sharp bracts that adhere to shoes, bare feet, dog paws and even car tyres and this facilitates the spread of this nasty weed. By comparison the flowers and seeds of A. nana are quite soft. So far I have found only one plant of Khaki Weed in the reserve and I promptly destroyed it. (December 2012)