Plant of the Month — February 2007
Trachymene coerulea Graham — Blue Lace Flower
Trachymene coerulea is a slender, erect annual or bi-annual herb growing in height from 0.1–2m. This delightful plant can be found growing in small patches or sometimes in meadow-like profusion in a range that extends from populations around Albany on the south coast, throughout the Swan Coastal Plain and at Dongara and Kalbarri in the north. The Swan Coastal Plain populations include Rottnest Island, hence its second common name of ‘Rottnest Island Daisy’.
The first part of the name, Trachymene, refers to the fruit or seed and derives from the Greek trachy meaning rough and mene meaning membrane or skin. The specific epithet coerulea describes the colour of the flowers and comes from a variant of the Latin caeruleus, meaning deep sky blue.
No garden has an excuse to be without this lovely plant. It tolerates sand, loam, granite, laterite, limestone and ironstone. Insects love it, as can be seen from the picture of two beetles in its centre; if it is insect-attracting it is also bird-attracting. It can be grown easily from commercial seed available at most nurseries or purchased in tubestock from wildflower nurseries. Snails love it, so that when plants are small, some protection from these pests needs to be in place. After blooming, seed may be collected and grown on for next season’s crop, thereby ensuring a splash of sky blue in a garden in one of Western Australia’s hottest summer months.
Photo: E.P. Hodgkin
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