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Lawrencia helmsii


Lawrencia helmsii Malvaceae
 ‘Dunna Dunna’

Erect candelabra-shaped shrub to 1.5 m in height (often referred to as ‘cactus-like’).

Very small fleshy or succulent green leaves can appear mottled or spotty, and are 1-4 mm in length are tightly arranged in thousands of rosettes and packed tightly on each ascending woody stem.
Each succulent leaf has a deep groove down the centre.
Older rosettes accumulate dead leaves in a stack beneath them, giving the appearance from a distance of a thicker overall stem.
Large old stems appear to have a green surface when viewed from a distance but only very close examination reveals the many miniature rosettes of leaves which cover them.
(The mostly upright main stems are often interpreted to be the only stems that the plant has; however each of the miniature rosettes of leaves has its own small stem).

Flowers are yellow/green and are produced from mid-winter through spring to early summer.

Found in arid areas where the soil surface has a distinct crust under which soil can be quite loose or friable. Sandy soils, limestone and gypsum elevated sites often near salt lakes and other saline habitats.  

Interestingly, this species is most commonly associated with soils that are crusted and therefore seed access and germination would be very difficult for most plants and so this plant’s dominance in this environment further investigation.

Also Lawrencia helmsii may have a higher tolerance of other minerals as well as salt, than general garden plants. Cultivation trials are very rare and the one or two reported have failed.

This may be one of Australia’s most fascinating plants.



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Lawrencia helmsii