Monthly Archives: June 2015

Heathy Parrot Pea

Dillwynia retorta

“A small, spreading shrub to 1m high”. – NPOS p.78

While revisiting the Prickly Moses I was reminded of a plant that I’d been unable to identify at the time. After some searching I think it’s a Heathy Parrot Pea, Dillwynia retorta.

I wish I’d kept notes on exactly where it was found but It’s clear it’s a pea of some sort from the non symmetrical yellow flowers. The short prickly leaves narrow it down, but it’s the twist in the leaves that is observable is some parts of the photo that make me think it’s the Heathy Parrot Pea.

Heathy Parrot Pea – It’s hard to see but if you bring up the full size image there are some twisted leaves visible

The Heathy Parrot Pea is one of the commonest pea shrubs in the Sydney area. It’s found in heath or woodland growing on sandstone. It’s leaves are about 10mm long, prickly and with a twist in them. Flowers are non symmetrical, yellow with some red parts ( hard to see in my photo )

This one was growing next to and intertwined with a Prickly Moses, it was only that they had different flowers that made me realise they were 2 different plants.

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Leucopogon amplexicaulis

“A small weak shrub to 1m tall with distinctive leaves” NPOS p.108

Will had “B.O.B” the classroom mascot for the weekend so we decided to take him down to the river to throw some stones! It had been raining for pretty much the whole previous week and the ground was soggy, and being the winter solstice it was dim and cold.

I spotted this small plant growing on a damp sandstone ledge near where of Allan Small creek meets Middle Harbour river. As usual I couldn’t identify it but figured the distinctive hairy leaves would give me a good chance of being able to look it up.

I’m pretty confident it’s a Leucopogon amplexicaulis, commonly known as Beard-heath. Beard heath is a small plant, up to 1m in height, made up of sparse scrambling stems with leaves attached directly. The leaves are 30 – 90mm long, heart shaped and have a distinctive “beard” of white hairs around their margins.

Flowing time is spring and winter, the specimen pictured was just beginning to flower. Fruiting is September to December and apparently it’s edible, I’ll be sampling some when it’s ready!

Beard-heath – on a damp sandstone ledge near the banks of Middle Harbour river.
Beard-heath – Leaf and flower detail. The leaves here are about 5cm long.

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