Several members of “Friends of Allen Noble Sanctuary” joined us on the morning ramble, providing a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge of the local plant species, sanctuary history and the work of the friends group.
Barry Whelan (FOANS) talking to the group about the successful planting of Milky Beauty-heads
The focus of the ramble was primarily wetland plant species plus a few less common plants of interest including weeds.
Milky Beauty-heads, Calocephalus lacteus A good plant choice for a moist environment
Greater Plantain, Plantago major certainly a striking plant regardless of its weed status
Slender Knotweed, Persicaria decipiens was found to be flourishing in both marginal and inundated areas within the sanctuary
The sanctuary provides easy access to rushes and sedges, enabling us to compare the 2 plant groups and identify individual species.
We observed that the stem description “Sedges have edges and Rushes are round” does not always apply. Examining a flowering stem from both Red-fruit Saw-sedge and Tall Spike-sedge we found both stems to be “round”.
Red-fruit Saw-sedge Gahnia sieberiana
Tall Spike-sedge Eleocharis sphacelata
Plant roots require access to air which is found in small pore spaces within the soil, in wetlands these pore spaces fill with water. Wetland plants overcome this problem through the presence of air spaces within their pith (central part of stem), the air spaces allow air to move downwards into the submerged root system.
An examination of stems from several Rush species and the Tall Spike-sedge revealed variable air spaces which provided a useful identification tool by which we could separate the different Rush species found in the sanctuary.
VicFlora describes the pith of Tall Rush Juncus procerus as ‘pith interrupted, with large air spaces, rarely with small air spaces’ Pale Rush Juncus pallidus is described as having ‘moderately dense, continuous’ pith.
It was interesting to note the position of the plants within the sanctuary. The Tall Spike-sedge grows in the water, Tall Rush on the margins of the water and Pale Rush on the drier low-lying locations.
Differing sized air spaces within the pith of Tall Spike-sedge Eleocharis sphacelata, Tall Rush Juncus procerus and Pale Rush Juncus pallidus
Tall Rush Juncus procerus
Pale Rush Juncus pallidus