Underneath the Brigalows

It’s pleasant to stroll in the dappled shade among the Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) trees on my property.  In some areas, the trees have created a thick layer of leaf mulch which seems to have inhibited the growth of understorey species.  There are, however, two interesting plants that appear in spots, and that go hand-in-hand with Brigalow forest:

Hooky grass, (Ancistrachne uncinulata), grows to around 80cm and has fine, wiry stems with small alternate leaf blades.  The flower spikes produce seeds which have are covered in sticky hooks, allowing them to adhere to passing animals.  If I need to collect seed, I just pluck them off my trouser legs!.

Hooky Grass Foliage

My neighbour likes to grab seeds from the grass as he walks by and he then scatters them into non-grassed areas to aid their distribution.

Hooky Grass Seed head

Hooky grass forms clumps which are about 50cm wide, and they are often seen grouped together in areas of partial shade.

Another low lying plant is Twinleaf (Zygophyllum apiculatum).  It is a fleshy-leaved ground cover with small yellow flowers.

Twinleaf Flower

Twinleaf grows to about 45cm but will cover up to a metre of ground.  The leaves are arranged in joined pairs which is the reason for its common name.  I particularly like the seed capsules as they are five-lobed, angular and hang down from the stems like little pointy lanterns.

Twinleaf Seed Capsules

Only the toughest of the tough survive the conditions where these two species are growing.  The slope is very steep and full of sandstone. The soil is very dry and sandy, and there are highly competitive weeds such as Panic grass and Madeira vine to contend with.  My aim is to remove patches of the weeds, propagate lots of Hooky grass and Twinleaf, and then plant them in those cleared areas on the slope.

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