10 March 2015

Comesperma flavum

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Comesperma flavum

This small plant like others in its genus is highly opportunistic to local summer rainfall by rapidly producing additional flowers. They begin normal flowering during late spring when the days are warm and there is still plenty of moisture in the soil, after which they produce their seed, but if additional moisture becomes available, they quickly develop more flowers just above the earlier produced seed capsules.

Due to this repetitive floral development, the bright cream/yellow flowers can usually be seen throughout late spring, summer and the autumn period; all that is required is warmth and moisture. Comesperma flavum is mainly distributed in near coastal environments from Perth to Albany and again around Esperance. Drier conditions (as is the case around Esperance) will influence the growth of the plants, of which locally they are usually less than ½ metre (20”) in height, but in more sheltered environments to the west, they can reach 11/2 metres (5’).

Locally, the preferred habitat of Comesperma flavum is non-calcareous sandy soil on the outer edge of slow moving seepage zones, especially where they enter swamps or flood plains. These areas provide the necessary moisture during spring and early summer when it first comes into flower, plus the habitat remains moist, or is replenished after summer rainfall for the second flowering period.

The bright autumn flowers of Comesperma flavum are most welcome, as there are few plants in bloom at this time, other than the odd eucalypt and a few Proteaceae.

Comesperma is part of Polygalaceae, the Milkwort family.