There is a tiny plant that pops up every year in infertile grey sands, an annual called Millotia tenuifolia
. It's common name is Soft Millotia and, yes, it looks soft and is soft to the touch.
|Soft Millotia in its entirety.|
Soft Millotia only grows to about 10 cm at most, flowers late winter and early spring and has pale yellow flowers and grey foliage so it can be easily overlooked amongst the other annual forbs and grasses. I've found it growing at Inverleigh, the Brisbane Ranges and at Anglesea. Sometimes it is prolific but still hardly noticeable.
All of the Millotia species are endemic - they only grow in Australia. It is in the Asteraceae family named after a French historian named Millot for reasons unknown (to me). Tenuifolia
means 'thin leaves' (Latin: tenuis + folium).
|Soft Millotia. Note the grains of sand caught on the glandular hairs.|
From a distance the Millotia tenuifolia
plants can look very grey, mainly because they are covered in white or pale golden woolly hairs that are glandular. I often see grains of sand caught on the hairs. The linear leaves are crowded at the base and then arranged alternately up the stem. The flower heads (about 10-40 flowers in each) are at the end of the stem.
|Glandular hairs on the stem and leaves.|
|The flower head gone to seed.|
Before long the delightful little plants will shrivel and the seeds will be just blowing in the wind.