Five Tough WA Native Dune Plants Useful for Gardening

Our WA native coastal plants form the true West Aussie hardcore of the globally unique flora found in the south west of Western Australia. Unlike other Australian native plants, these proven dune plants are resilient to the extreme hot baking sun and the dry wind of WA’s renown nutrient deficient, alkaline, sea-sprayed, salt-laden, frontline coastal sand.

Here are five of these indestructible WA native coastal plants that thrive on a lack of care and have other unique attributes that are most useful to gardeners.

  1. Berry Saltbush

    Rhagodia baccatta, or Berry Saltbush. Useful as a strong ground-covering shrub growing up to 1m in height by 3m wide. Once established it is useful as a living mulch to cover open ground thereby severely limiting the germination of ever present and incoming weed seeds. Benefitting from the protection of this cover, other garden plants may be successfully planted within an opening cut into the Berry Saltbush. Berry Saltbush provides habitat for invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals. Within the six season Noongar calendar, the occurrence of the small claret-coloured edible berries on Berry Saltbush, marks the transition from Bunuru to Djeran.

  2. Cushion Bush

    Leucophyta brownii, or Cushion Bush. Useful as a ground-covering or hedge plant less than 1 m in height forming neat mounding clumps with a beautiful, year-round, architecturally inspiring, silver foliage that is easily seen at night.

  3. Grey Cottonheads

    Conostylsis candicans, or Grey Cottonheads. Perennial, compact plant with striking, strappy grey foliage and vibrant yellow flowers in late winter to summer. Useful to plant as a hardy border or for a statement of mass planting.

  4. Grevillea crithmifolia

    Compact, medium-sized shrub to 2.5m tall by 3 m wide. Dense clusters of white flowers in spring attract Honeyeaters and Butterflies. Useful as a screen and to stabilise embankments.

  5. Pig Face

    Carpobrotus virescens, or Pig Face (Noongar: Bain), succulent groundcover with 3m spread. Fruiting bush tucker plant with leaves that may be eaten raw or cooked like vegetables. Blossoms in the Spring with superb fuchsia petals and cheerful yellow centres. Useful as striking central display or border, the perfect low maintenance verge plant.

Mark Harrison


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