Saturday, 15 March 2008


This isn't the Old Man Saltbush I wrote about earlier this week. It's a Ruby Saltbush, a common plant in the drier parts of Victoria.

Ruby Saltbush

Ruby Saltbush

When we called in to have a look at the dry lakebed of Lake Meran it was about midday, the temperature was about 39, even though it's autumn, and the heat reflected off the sandy soil around the lake so we didn't hang around. The coolness of the air con in the car was very attractive.

But the Ruby Saltbush Enchylaena tomentosa var. tomentosa looked quite comfortable in the heat and arid environment. The brightly coloured 'berries' and succulent leaves are edible, and were an important antiscorbutic vegetable for some early explorers of Australia. (I had to look up 'antiscorbutic' - it means they ate it to guard against scurvy.)

I wonder why the birds haven't eaten the berries.

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