Thursday, February 4, 2010


Adriana urticoides var urticoides (Adriana tomentosa)
Here’s an odd-looking plant which we don’t see around here very often. This also seems to be the case in large areas of Australia, as it is described as “widespread, but uncommon”.
It’s a rather weak shrub, about 2 metres high, and these odd-looking flowers are the females, which occur on separate plants from the males. It is growing on the creek bank, in the Linthorpe Reserve just west of Toowoomba, in a spot where it is scrambling up through other shrubs in the dappled shade of trees, and is on black soil.
Some pastoralists believe the plant is poisonous to stock, so destroy it if they find it on their properties. There seems to be no evidence to support their belief, though the plant is in the Euphorbiaceae family, which does contain some poisonous plants. (It is likely to be avoided by stock if there is anything else to eat, because of its bitter taste.)
Bitterbush is sold as a butterfly host plant, as it hosts the caterpillars of the speckled lineblue butterfly (Catopyrops florinda halys), which has been found locally - and the bitterbush blue (Theclinesthes albocincta) which to my knowledge has not.

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