Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rough Saw-sedge

Gahnia aspera
These plants are often seen in professionally designed gardens, and as you can see, they are beautiful plants, especially when in fruit.
They are undeniably handsome, but the sharp-edged leaves cut any piece of human flesh that happens to brush past them. Children’s tender skin is particularly vulnerable.
I have been told that the foliage and flower heads are used in fresh and dried flower arrangements. They can’t be much fun to work with!
However, provided they can be placed where this won’t cause a problem these plants are worth growing just for their value to our local wildlife. Native to the dry rainforests and grasslands along the Range, they are hosts for small butterflies, and their very hard red seeds are a favourite food of rosellas.

 Aborigines used to pound the edible seeds to make a flour, but they are very hard, and apparently quite able to defeat an ordinary kitchen blender. They have also been used as beads.
These frost and drought hardy plants should certainly be included in bush regeneration plantings and perhaps bush tucker gardens, but are best left out of small suburban gardens.

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