Herb

Alternanthera denticulata

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Alternanthera denticulataFamily: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera
Common name: Lesser Joyweed
ALA reference

When I made note of this plant in 2010 there were only a few small plants in the reserve. Since then its size and range has expanded significantly through natural regeneration. It now provides an attractive groundcover in a number of our restoration areas. Bushcarers should learn to recognise this plant because it could be mistaken for an introduced weed. (December 2012)

This little prostrate, to slightly ascending, herb has appeared in a number of places across the Reserve. I suspect that this is as a result of the recent rains, since it likes damp areas. The tiny pinkish white flowers are carried in the leaf axils. (February 2010)

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Alternanthera nana

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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)

Aneilema acuminatum

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Aneilema acuminatumFamily: Commelinaceae
Genus: Aneilema
Common names: Aneilema
ALA reference

This is a vigorous but weak stemmed ground cover plant that likes moist and well shaded forest areas. It is related to our blue flowered native Wandering Jew Commelina cyanea. I found it growing beside the new fire trail where it seems to be associated with the regeneration of the native plants following the removal of the Cat’s Claw and Ochna. I’m hoping that with continuing good weather it will spread. (January 2008)

Aneilema biflorum

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Aneilema biflorumFamily: Commelinaceae
Genus: Aneilema
Common names: Two-flowered Aneilema
ALA reference

This plant is growing flat on the ground but it will grow up through low vegetation. It is closely related to Aneilema acuminatum and also likes moist partially shaded positions. As the name suggests each inflorescence bears two small white flowers with flimsy petals about 8 mm across.

(January 2008)

Brunoniella australis

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Brunoniella australisFamily: Acanthaceae
Genus: Brunoniella
Common names: Blue trumpet
ALA reference

This small perennial herb has apparently remained dormant during the prolonged dry spell. With the recent rains it has produced new growths with flowers from the underground stems. The plant pictured is only about 25mm high but carries a disproportionately large and showy flower. The plants do grow to a height of about 15cm. I’ve found a number of these plants in the cleared area along the Eddystone Road extension. (November 2007)

Callitriche muelleri

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Callitriche muelleriFamily: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Callitriche
Common names: Rounded Water Starwort
ALA reference

Following the heavy May rains, this little annual herb has appeared in considerable numbers in the damper, shadier areas along the erosion gully. It forms an attractive dense pale green mat on the surface of the soil. It is monoecious and normally has a pair of tiny male and female flowers growing side by side in the leaf axils. (August 2009)

Centella asiatica

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Centella asiaticaFamily: Apiaceae
Genus: Centella
Common names: Indian Pennywort
ALA reference

This is a very common perennial ground cover plant and can be found growing as a “weed” in most gardens. The creeping stems root at the leaf nodes. The plants bloom in summer with groups of 2 or 3 small flower heads. The leaves and stems are widely regarded as a herbal remedy and have recently become popular for relieving the symptoms of arthritis. (September 2008)