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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