Plants of Melbourne's Western Plains:
A Gardener's Guide to the Original Flora, 2nd Edition

Wild Flowers, Low Shrubs and Climbers - Part 3 of 4

Hover over the name of the plant for detailed information.

Plant names are linked to information in Vicflora.

Leucochrysum albicans

Hoary Sunray

Bright yellow everlasting daisies (H 50cm, W 60cm) contrast with the grey, woolly foliage to make a very attractive plant.
Prefers a rockery situation in sun or dappled shade. Not recorded on the Keilor Werribee plains for 140 years so possibly locally extinct. A different variety (var. tricolor) with white flowers is sold by some nurseries but this plant has not been recorded on the Keilor-Werribee Plains (it occurs on the plains in western Victoria).

Linum marginale

Native Flax

A perennial herb (H 50cm, W 30cm) that forms wiry clumps. The leaves are blue-green and slender. It has a cluster of dainty blue flowers in spring and early summer.
A widespread plant often found in drainage lines, grassy wetlands and Red Gum Woodlands. An attractive and easily grown plant that prefers an open, sunny position in moist soils.
Plants are best cut back in autumn to encourage vigorous new growth. Massed plantings are very effective. Self seeds readily.

Lobelia pedunculata
(formerly Pratia pedunculata)

Matted Pratia

An ornamental matting plant (Prostrate, W 1—3m), with small, green leaves and masses of white (rarely blue) flowers in late spring and summer. A highly variable species with the flowers appearing almost star shaped on some plants.
Prefers moist or wet soils in light shade. It will sucker and form roots at the nodes. Common in drainage lines, Red Gum Woodlands and swamp margins.
Similar species: Isotoma fluviatilis, with white or light blue star-shaped flowers.

Lobelia pratioides

Poison Lobelia

A spreading herb (H prostrate) with small, green leaves and blue-tinged or white flowers from late spring to autumn, if kept moist.
Prefers moist, poorly drained soils in sun or semi-shade. It suckers, forming roots at the nodes. Suitable for moist lawn areas with low traffic or bog gardens.

Lotus australis

Austral Trefoil

A sprawling pea plant (H 60cm, W 50cm—1m) with pretty white to shell-pink flowers and leaves composed of five leaflets.
Prefers full sun and requires good drainage. Can tolerate alkaline soils.
Useful rockery plant, although it may be short lived (3—4 years).

Microseris sp. 3
(Synonym: Microseris walteri)

Murnong or Yam Daisy

A perennial plant (H 30—50cm, W 30cm) forming a rosette of long, narrow, slightly toothed leaves. Bright yellow flowers with distinctive, drooping buds in spring.
Prefers a sunny position in well- drained, basalt soils. May self seed but hard to maintain in cultivation. Dies back to tubers in summer and dry spells. Suitable for container or group plantings.
An important Aboriginal food plant, it was abundant but is now rare.

Minuria leptophylla

Minnie Daisy

A small rounded plant (H 10—30cm, W 20—50cm) with fine, light green leaves. White to mauve flowers through most of the year.
Prefers a sunny position in moist, well- drained soils.
Suitable for rock gardens and containers.

Myoporum parvifolium

Creeping Boobialla

A dense, vigorous groundcover (H 10cm, W 1m) with masses of white flowers in spring and summer. Autumn fruit eaten by rosellas. Very hardy and suitable for most well- drained soils.
Suitable for embankments and retaining walls. Several non-local forms are common in nurseries. Locally extinct in the Melbourne area.

Nicotiana suaveolens

Austral Tobacco

An erect, perennial plant (H 30cm—1m, W 50cm—1m) with a basal rosette of large, fleshy leaves and erect, branched stems. Numerous tubular, cream flowers from spring to autumn. Flowers are pleasantly fragrant in the evening.
Prefers well-drained soils in escarpment shrubland. An important plant for moths.

Pelargonium australe

Austral Stork's Bill

A fast-growing, perennial plant (H 50cm, W 30—60cm). Clusters of showy, pink flowers in spring and summer. The round leaves are velvety and aromatic. May self seed.
Prefers well-drained soils in sun or semi-shade. Ideal for most situations, especially suitable for use in rockeries.

Pelargonium rodneyanum

Magenta Stork's Bill

A small perennial (H 10—30cm, W 30—50cm) with a rosette of lobed leaves and stunning magenta flowers in late spring, summer and autumn if watered.
Prefers well-drained soils in a sunny or lightly shaded situation. Ideal for rockeries or container cultivation.
An extremely attractive plant but hard to propagate and maintain.

Pimelea curviflora var. 1
(divided into Pimelea curviflora ssp gracilis and Pimelea curviflora ssp sericea)

Curved Rice-Flower

A shrub (H 40cm, W 40cm) with small, dull grey- green leaves. Numerous stems with clusters of small yellow flowers, occasionally orange, in spring and summer.
Prefers well-drained soils in either a sunny or semi-shaded aspect. Very hardy. Suitable for rockeries or containers. Can form dense clumps.

Pimelea glauca

Smooth Rice-Flower

An small, erect or spreading shrub (H 60cm, W 60cm—1m) with narrow, blue-green leaves and clusters of cream flowers in winter, spring and sometimes into summer.
A hardy and showy species that prefers well-drained, basalt soils and full sun.
Prune after flowering for bushy growth. Ideal addition to any wildflower garden.

Pimelea humilis

Common Rice-Flower

A low shrub (H 30cm, W 30cm—1m) with many erect stems, small, grey-green leaves and dense clusters of creamy-white flowers in spring.
Prefers a sunny position in well-drained basalt or sedimentary soil. Prune after flowering to develop a dense growth habit. Flowering may be extended with summer moisture. Suitable for rockeries and containers.
A showy, long-flowering species that occurs in a range of grassland and woodland habitats.

Pimelea spinescens ssp. spinescens

Spiny Rice-Flower or Plains Rice-Flower

A low shrub (H 10—30cm, W 50cm) with small round leaves and pretty, creamy-yellow flowers in clusters at the end of spine-tipped branches.
Excellent low shrub for most open situations. Flowers in autumn and winter, making it a useful plant for colour in a grassland garden.
Critically endangered in the wild, where it is only found on grasslands.

Podolepis sp. 1
(synonym Podolepis linearifolia)

Basalt Podolepis

A very ornamental species (H 30—60cm) with large, bright yellow, daisy flowerheads on slender stems, rising from a basal rosette of dark green, narrow, hairless leaves.
Endangered in the wild, it prefers moist, well-drained basalt soils. Flowers in spring and early summer but extra moisture may extend flowering. May be short-lived in cultivation.

Ptilotus macrocephalus

Feather Heads

A perennial herb (H 50cm, W 60cm) with a basal rosette of dark green leaves and large, creamy or pale brown, feathery flowerheads on erect stems in spring and summer.
Prefers an open sunny position in well-drained soils. Massed plantings are spectacular.
It is becoming increasingly uncommon on the Keilor-Werribee Plains.

Ptilotus spathulatus


A small, spreading, herbaceous plant (Prostrate, W 10—40cm). Dark green glossy leaves and numerous grey to light brown, fluffy, erect flowerheads from late winter to summer.
Prefers an open position, in well-drained soil. May die back to rootstock in summer.
An interesting ornamental groundcover for rockeries, containers or wildflower gardens.

Pultenaea pedunculata

Matted Bush Pea

A very attractive groundcover (Prostrate, W 1—2m) with small, dark green leaves and masses of red and yellow pea flowers in spring. Dense, layering growth habit.
Prefers dry, well-drained gravelly soils of basalt or sedimentary origin. Ideal for rockeries or cascading over retaining walls.

Pycnosorus chrysanthes
(synonym Pycnosorus chrysanthus)

Golden Billy Buttons

A spectacular perennial daisy (H 30—60cm, W 30cm—1m) with golden globular flowerheads on long stems. The silvery leaves are fine and slightly woolly.
Grows naturally in wet or damp sites in Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands. Prefers a sunny position in moist soils. Once established, it will tolerate dry sunny periods. Benefits from pruning the old stems after flowering.
It is a useful groundcover or bog plant, and does well in containers. Cut flowers will maintain their colour when dried.

Rhodanthe anthemoides

Chamomile Sunray

A perennial, herb (H 30cm, W 30—60cm) with numerous slender stems with grey-green foliage and terminal, papery, white daisy flowers with yellow centres in spring. Summer water will extend flowering. Grows naturally on sheltered escarpments in full sun. Prefers a sheltered aspect in moist, well- drained soils.
Suitable for cut or dried flowers. Ideal container plant that also suits rockeries or small gardens. Best planted in drifts.

Rubus parvifolius

Native Raspberry or Small-Leaf Bramble

A plant (H 50cm—2m, W 50cm—1m) that can be trained as a low climber, it has a scrambling habit and thorny stems with small, red, raspberry-like fruits in summer and autumn. The fruits are edible but do not generally have a lot of flavour.
The plant is hardy and grows well in full sun to dappled shade. Will withstand dry periods but fruiting will suffer.
It responds well to native plant fertiliser. Pruning will encourage more of the small pink flowers and fruit and produce a better form.

Rutidosis leptorhynchoides

Button Wrinklewort

A low, erect, herbaceous plant (H 30cm, W 30cm) with small yellow flowers from late spring through summer. Grows well in a sunny position and prefers moist, well-drained soil. A good container plant.
Plants respond well to light pruning, which can help prevent them from becoming straggly.
The species is listed as endangered nationally. In Victoria, the species is only known to occur naturally at nine sites, none of which is in any formal conservation reserve.

Scutellaria humilis

Dwarf Skullcap

A perennial groundcover (height stems to 15cm, width spreading) with bright green leaves. Numerous bright pink, tubular flowers in spring and summer.
Prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun or semi-shade. Spreads by suckering.

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