Austral indigo (Indigofera australis)

Austral indigo flowers

Austral indigo. Image by Ian Moodie.

A delicate, open shrub that is part of the Pea family and found throughout Australia.

  • It grows to a size of 1.2m x 1.2m and has feather-like leaves, openly spaced along the stem.
  • It has a fresh, clean and unblemished appearance in all seasons.
  • Austral indigo produces an abundance of beautiful pink or mauve blooms in tapering sprays from August to September.
  • Bright green pods hang from the Austral indigo once it has flowered. The ripened pods produce a square-shaped, hard seed.
  • Austral Indigo prefers semi-shade.
  • A beautiful specimen plant for a partly shaded, well-drained spot. It needs regular watering during dry periods and to be pruned to maintain its vigor.
  • It can be used to great effect when planted under trees or as a hedge or border.
  • In Boroondara, the Austral indigo can be seen at Yarra Bend Park.
  • The Austral indigo provides a source of food for butterflies.
  • Traditionally, Aboriginal people used the flowers to create a blue dye and the crushed roots to stun fish.

Gold dust wattle (Acacia acinacea)

Gold dust wattle

Gold dust wattle. Image by Ian Moodie.

An open, spreading, small- to medium-sized shrub with attractive bright green, rounded foliage evenly arranged along the stems.

  • It has an abundance of bright yellow ball-shaped flower heads along arching branches. They flower from August to November.
  • The spiralled, green seed pods change to brown as they mature. The seeds drop from the pod after maturity.
  • It prefers light shade.
  • It is a good, low specimen or screening plant that adapts to well-drained soils.
  • It is drought and wind tolerant and looks lovely planted below established trees on exposed areas.
  • Trim lightly to develop a more compact and dense form. It often self-seeds in the garden.
  • In Boroondara, Gold dust wattle can be seen in Markham Reserve, Ashburton.
  • The blossom and seed pods attract a wide variety of native birds and insects that feed on them.

 Golden spray (Viminaria juncea)

Golden spray flowers

Golden spray. Image by Ian Moodie.

A willowy, tall, leafless shrub with pendulous branches and long, needle-like branchlets.

  • It produces long drooping sprays of yellow pea flowers from October to February.
  • Golden spray can be easily propagated from the single seed contained within the soft, oval-shaped pods.
  • Golden spray grows best in full sun.
  • A fast growing attractive shrub that provides a brilliant display when in flower, it can be adapted to drier conditions if it is watered during summer.
  • In Boroondara, it can be seen along Back Creek in South Surrey Park as well as at the intersection with Anderson Street.
  • It provides insects with a home and in turn is a source of food for insect-foraging birds.

Snowy daisy-bush (Olearia lirata

Showy daisy bush in flower

Showy daisy bush. Image by Ian Moodie.

A soft, open shrub with dark green, lance-shaped leaves, growing to a size of 3m x 2m.

  • It may also be known as Olearia stellulata.
  • The Snowy daisy-bush has masses of small white flower heads with about 15 ray florets in large, loose bunches.
  • It flowers from September to December.
  • The seeds, known as achene, are borne through the air on a silky hairy pappus.
  • The Snowy daisy-bush may only produce a few viable seeds if damaged by insects.
  • It grows best in part or full shade or a sheltered position.
  • The Snowy daisy-bush prefers a moist, well-drained soil and is an excellent shrub to brighten a sheltered corner of the garden.
  • Once established it can accept a drier soil.
  • It is a beautiful screening or specimen shrub and provides attractive cut flowers.
  • It is presumed extinct as a naturally occurring population in Boroondara, however, it is being reintroduced into sites along the Yarra River corridor.
  • The Snow daisy-bush attracts insect-eating birds to your garden.

 Sweet bursaria (Bursaria spinosa

Sweet bursaria flowers

Sweet bursaria. Image by Ian Moodie.

Sweet bursaria is a narrow to rounded shrub or small tree 2m x 1.5m in size with shiny dark leaves and spines along the branches.

  • Plants tend to have more spines and smaller leaves in drier sites.
  • Sweet bursaria has massed bunches of tiny, creamy white flowers at the ends of its branches and flowers from November to February.
  • Attractive brown seed capsules are held on the branches for a long time after flowering.
  • It grows in full sun.
  • It is valuable in the home garden for its attractive flowers, leaves and seeds, and can be useful for screening or as a small shade tree.
  • It has low to medium water requirements and is drought and lime tolerant.
  • For the plant to retain its vigor the tips need to be pruned.
  • In Boroondara, Sweet bursaria occurs along the Yarra River and Gardiners Creek and in grassy woodland sites such as South Surrey Park.
  • It provides nectar for birds as well as food for butterflies, particularly for the rare Eltham Copper Butterfly.
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