28 July 2009

Synaphea oligantha

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Synaphea oligantha

There are several species of Synaphea in the Esperance region with most being annoyingly difficult to identify, however Synaphea oligantha would be the easiest one to recognise due to its fine, much branched foliage. It can form compact leafy shrubs to 50 cm (1'6") in height (although 30 cm or 12" is more the norm), with slender flower spikes waving above the foliage sporting small widely spaced blooms.

Personally I find this small plant quite appealing, with its compact growth, divided foliage and rays of yellow flowering stems. The flowers although small and not particularly numerous, for me complete a bright finely balanced floral portrait. The new growth is quite red and although not then in flower, the color change from light green is yet another attractive and interesting feature.

Synaphea oligantha is a very common plant of deep (acid) sandy soils and some well-drained gravel ones. As these soil conditions tend to be more coastal, this species is more likely to be encountered there, although sandy rises also occur throughout the wheat growing district and even into mallee region, where it is also found. Normally this Synaphea flowers between July and October, but odd flowers can often be encountered a month or so outside this period.