Friday, July 24, 2015

Bear's Ear

Cymbonotus lawsonianus

Here’s a little native daisy that we most often see in winter and spring after good rain, so look for it now.
Its normal habitat is open grassy woodland, and it likes the space around it to be rather open, so it can spread its leaves out flat.
I photographed the above specimen in Allora Mountain Reserve, which must have been opened for use by cattle at the time, as it was showing signs of heavy grazing. This is one of the few native grassland species that thrives on the treatment.
Bears ear is a hardy, stemless plant, with a rosette of white-backed leaves that sit flat on the ground and look a little like dandelions. The flowers are 3cm yellow daisies, which cluster tightly in the centre, close to the ground. The whole plant usually only rises a few centimetres high, though it can get up past your ankles if it is competing with grass or other low garden plants. It dies out if the grass gets too tall for too long, though.
This little daisy is suitable for flower gardens and shrubberies, and it copes well with mowing, which makes it suitable for establishing in a native grass lawn. It may also invade a lawn of the traditional kind, especially if it is well-watered.
Bear’s ear can be grown from seed, which will be ripe in the next few months. It's not commercially available, so you may need to collect your own if you want to grow it.
It needs good soil moisture to get established and to look its best. However it will survive (once established) with no watering at all. In dry times it dies back to its (edible) underground tubers, only reappearing in response to rain or watering.

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