Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sticky Wallaby Bush

Beyeria viscosa

I found this plant growing in the Jack McEwan State Forest, near Pittsworth. The soil there is our typical “hillside black” - better drained than the heavy black soil of the Darling Downs plains, and very stony.
I wondered what was “sticky” about it, as it isn’t sticky to touch - but one of my companions pressed a specimen between sheets of newspaper, and apparently it stuck quite firmly!
The plants are dioecious. Flowers on the male bushes have little yellow flowers with no petals. They are pretty little balls of yellow stamens, framed by green sepals. Flowers on the female plants are nondescript, and followed by these fruits, which, at present, are interesting but not showy. I am not familiar with this plant, but I have seen a photo of the species, taken in Western Australia, with showy plum-red fruits. I plan to keep an eye on Jack Mack’s plants, to discover whether they will change colour as they mature.
Wallaby bushes are pleasantly attractive plants with silvery leaves. They are said to make a good screen in gardens, and to benefit from pruning. To fully appreciate the species, it would be necessary to have at least one male and one female plant, so planting a row of them does seem like a good idea.

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