14 Jan Mother of millions
Often confused with the Australian native Christmas Bells, this mat forming plant will grow under the poorest of conditions in areas such as a crack in a rock, gravel on the side of a road or on cliff faces, sand dunes and pastures.
Origin: Madagascar, South Africa
Habit: Erect, smooth fleshy succulent stems to 2m, with green- pink grey stems.
Leaves: Leaves vary depending on the species, but all are succulent either cylindrical or boat shaped and have many small teeth on the leaf tip or margins that produce new plantlets (vegetative reproduction).
Flowers: Produced in a cluster at the tip of long stems. Flowers are drooping, bell-shaped, orange-red to scarlet, 4-lobed to 2-3cm long. Flowers mainly Winter-Spring.
Fruit: Dry capsule, producing hundreds of tiny black seeds. Prolific seeder.
Roots: Weak fibrous roots form from all vegetative parts.
Dispersal: Main method of reproduction is vegetative where by stem fragments re-root. Human activities such as mowing/slashing and green waste dumping are the common method of vegetative spread. Seeds are spread by water and contaminated soil.
Control: Difficult. Hand pull/dig, bagging all plant parts and removing from site. Foliar spray.