Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sandfly Zieria

Zieria smithii
(pronounced ZEE-AREA)

I photographed this rather delicate-looking shrub growing wild in the Pechey arboretum, a few weeks ago. It’s not common in our area, but is also known from the rather sandy soil around Kleinton, north of Highfields.
It’s an unmistakable plant, the only shrub hereabouts with these distinctive triple leaves. We see it as a metre-high plant, but in north Queensland it can apparently get to 6 metres.
It is rather pretty, with its tiny four-petalled flowers coming out at this time of year when flowering plants are a little harder to find. It would probably appreciate being pruned quite hard after flowering, to keep in neatly shaped.
Its rather odd name refers to a belief that rubbing the aromatic leaves on the skin repels sandflies and mosquitos . I have no idea whether it works. You will smell interesting, though. Some people think it smells like kerosene. Others liken it to turmeric.

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