INTRODUCTION TO THE INDIGENOUS PLANTS OF THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA
This booklet has been prepared as an introduction to a range of local plants (indigenous) to the Mornington Peninsula. It can be used as a field guide to assist with the identification of Peninsula plant species, but its primary purpose is to encourage the planting of local species in home gardens and on farms.The bushland of the Mornington Peninsula is an integral part of the character and landscape of the area. The planting and growing of indigenous plants will contribute to maintaining this unique living environment.
What Are Indigenous Plants?
Species that are part of the original flora of a particular area or region are termed indigenous. In this booklet indigenous plants are those that occur naturally on the Mornington Peninsula and any plants propagated from them.
It is estimated that less than seven per cent of the original vegetation of the Mornington Peninsula is left as viable remnants. Protection and enhancement of these natural features are vital.
Why Use Indigenous Plants?
By choosing indigenous plant species for gardens and retaining natural
vegetation wherever possible, it is possible to create habitat for local
fauna and help protect the Mornington Peninsula’s natural heritage.
Indigenous plants will:
* Attract native wildlife to your garden and provide valuable habitat
* Grow easily, as local species are well adapted to local soils and
* Help maintain the natural balance so reducing pest outbreaks;
Generally require no watering once established.
Where Can Indigenous Plants Be Obtained?
Under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act it is illegal to remove indigenous
plants or seeds from reserves or roadsides without a permit. There are several nurseries that specialize in the supply of Peninsula indigenous plants.
Once the plants have been obtained, they should be planted out as soon as possible. Soak the plants thoroughly before planting to reduce moisture
stress and wind damage. Ideally, planting should be done on cool days with
light winds. The hole to take the plant should be a little deeper than the container. If the soil is dry, fill the hole with water and allow it to drain away before planting.
Gently ease the plant from its container and only tease out the roots if they are tangled and matted. Gently supporting the root and stem, place the plant and fill the hole. Water immediately to displace air pockets and help settle the soil. Staking is generally not necessary.
Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material placed on the soil around plantings. Mulch will help:
* reduce weed competition;
* conserve soil moisture;
* reduce soil erosion;
* add organic matter to the soil, and
* improve its structure.
Many types of mulch are available and all have their advantages and
disadvantages. Careful selection and effective placement of mulch can modify the environment around the plant and im.prove its chance of survival and subsequent growth. Mulch is most effective if applied just after planting. Further information on mulching and planting may be obtained from your Council’s Parks and Gardens Department.
Aril: Fleshy outgrowth of seed, which may surround it, as in some wattles
Calcareous: Describing soils with a relatively high amount of limestone, or chalk, making them alkaline
Koori: Australian Aborigine
Procumbent: A branch that grows along the ground without setting rootsClick here for list of photographs of examples of Mornington Peninsula indigenous plants