Sunday, 31 March 2013

Ring a Bell?

 At first glance, European readers will probably assume this is a bellflower. Well, it is and it isn't. It is Campanulaceae, just like the European bellflowers Campanula spp, but it is the closely related southern hemisphere member of the family, Wahlenbergia. This pretty and common wildflower is called the Australian Bluebell W. stricta.

The Quaking Grass Briza maxima with which it is growing is an attractive, but invasive alien plant which out competes the native vegetation and reduces the biodiversity of any area where it is established.


Tim said...

Lovely bluebell... it looks almost Gentian like as it is opening... shame about the Brizia... I thought it was an annual, so grazing should control it pretty effectively.

chm said...

This lovely blue flower, interspersed among the various grasses, reminds me of our own blue-eyed grass [Sisyrinchium], here in the States, which is not a grass at all but an Iridaceae.

Susan said...

Tim: maybe kangaroos don't like Briza. Grazing by domestic stock unfortunately isn't a conservation solution in Australia.

chm: I've never seen a blue flowered Sisyrinchium. I only know the one with cream flowers, which is a lovely garden plant.

chm said...

Hi Susan,
I just ordered a packet of Blue-eyed Grass seeds, so I'll bring some for you in May or June. Like that you'll be able to enjoy them de visu.

I'll give the rest of the seeds to my friend near Étampes who has such a lovely garden.

Susan said...

chm: thank you, that would be nice. FYI, technically you should get a phytosanitation certificate to bring seeds in, but I doubt if anyone except the professionals do. If you are challenged by the douanes, say you are very sorry you don't have the cert, but the species is an ornamental member of the iris family and therefore not banned. It is not a grass or cereal in the Graminaceae family, some of which are banned. They should let a single seed packet in its original packaging in unless they are in a very bad mood.

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