Pretty plant is common this year

EUROPEAN: Pelisser’s toadflax has attractive purple flowers at the top.

EUROPEAN: Pelisser’s toadflax has attractive purple flowers at the top.

Do you know what this purple flowered plant is? It is the first time we have noticed it. It is growing on a rocky slope with orchids and other native plants.

H.M., Bacchus Marsh.

Your plant is a European one known as Pelisser’s toadflax. It has been more prominent this spring than in recent years, probably because of the extra rainfall.

It grows about 20-40 cm tall, with slender erect stems and a cluster of attractive flowers at the top. These flowers have a somewhat orchid-like appearance.

Although a widespread exotic plant, and sometimes regarded as a weed, it seems to have little effect on native vegetation. It seldom grows in dense populations.

It is an annual, dying when the ground dries out after having produced seeds to grow in the next year.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au