Prostrate, succulent annual or biennial, herb, 0.1-0.15 m high. Fl. white, Sep to Dec. Sand, clay loam. Coastal sand dunes, saline flats, roadsides.
Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, South-West Province.
IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Esperance Plains, Geraldton Sandplains, Hampton, Little Sandy Desert, Mallee, Murchison, Nullarbor, Swan Coastal Plain, Yalgoo.
IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P1, Cape Range, Central band, Nullarbor Plain, Eastern Goldfield, Edel, Geraldton Hills, Hampton, Lesueur Sandplain, Mardabilla, Perth, Recherche, Rudall, Southern Cross, Western Mallee, Western Murchison, Wooramel.
IMCRA Regions: Abrolhos Islands, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, Shark Bay.
Local Government Areas (LGAs): Carnarvon, Cockburn, Dalwallinu, Dowerin, Dundas, East Pilbara, Esperance, Exmouth, Fremantle, Greater Geraldton, Irwin, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kellerberrin, Kent, Kulin, Lake Grace, Northampton, Quairading, Rockingham, Shark Bay, Tammin, Trayning, Wyalkatchem, Yalgoo, Yilgarn.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Animals (by ingestion) including rabbits and mice, possibly water and wind. Toxicity. Contains potentially toxic levels of oxalate, which may cause stock poisoning. Seedbank persistence. 20+ years.
Notes. May be biennial. Its ability to accumulate salt has enabled it to establish in saline areas across southern Australia. Grazing, disturbance, and/or coastal erosion can create open habitats that encourage colonisation and spread. Invades coastal islands and bluffs where it forms dense groundcover that outcompetes native species. Abundance tends to vary from year to year depending on climatic factors, particularly winter-spring rainfall. Covered in large bladder cells. Insect-pollinated. Able to absorb significant moisture from soil and outcompete most other species for water. High levels of nitrate can build-up underneath plants and be detrimental to other species. Accumulates salt over its life time and then releases this into the surrounding soil when plants die. The increased salinity can prevent or retard other less salt-tolerant native species from establishing. Seedlings have rapid vegetative growth until spring. Growth slows and then stops as the hot, dry summer season progresses. Can switch from C3 photosynthesis to Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) in later stages of lifecycle with the onset of drought to minimise water loss and ensure reproduction without rain and in saline soils. Onset of flowering is accelerated by environmental stress, particularly salt stress. Most plants die with the onset of drought but in moist situations they may continue to grow for another season. South Australian biotypes have developed resistance to Group B/2 herbicides (including chlorsulfuron).
Additional information. Origin. South Africa, Mediterranean region. History of use/introduction. Sand used in ships' ballast, erosion control, ornamental. Similar exotic species. Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum, M. aitonis.
Suggested method of management and control. Hand remove isolated plants through spring and early summer. Logran® at 12.5 g/100L + the penetrant Pulse ® is very effective with little offtarget damage in coastal heathlands. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/