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flowering sprig

Natural populations

Two subspecies are recognised for this species [66]:

All Bursaria species are vigorously rhizomatous with differing developmental stages occurring in a single stand, or even on a single shoot (heteroblasty) [66]. Once established bursarias  are extremely hardy and will last 30-50 years [8]. They are aggressive colonisers of marginal or disturbed sites and regeneration from rhizomes, e.g. after fire, can be rapid and extensive [66]. In Victoria, on an environmental continuum with no distinct entities, it has been observed that young plants and those from drier sites tend to be spinescent and small-leaved, while mature plants from well-watered areas (coasts, river valleys, fertile plains) tend to be large-leaved, virtually spineless and are often arborescent [16].

Flowering and seeds

Flowering in late spring to summer and seed collection late summer to autumn.

Cultivation and uses

Bursaria spinosa is of high wildlife value, as a habitat for birds and as a nectar source. It is a useful honey plant in poor seasons, producing medium to heavy quantities of pollen and average amounts of a damp amber honey [17]. The drug aesculin is extracted from leaves and has been harvested commercially in Australia [11]. Timber is pale fine-grained and tough; seasons well due to little shrinkage; takes polish well [11], however with slender trunks usually less than 19 cm dbh, the timber potential is not great [66].

Key descriptors:
Subsp. spinosa:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 250-2700 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 9-20 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 17-33 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -2-17 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-1300 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Drainage:  well-drained
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: sand
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall, shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall or tree 5-10 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding
Root system: forms root suckers
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes)
Shade tolerance: tolerates partial shade
Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: mod. to strong propensity to root sucker

Subsp. lasiophylla:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 200-1500 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 6-19 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 20-33 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -2-6 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -6°C)
Altitude: 50-1300 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Drainage:  well-drained
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: clayey
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall, shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall or tree 5-10 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Coppicing ability: strong, responds well to pruning, pollarding
Root system: forms root suckers
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes)
Shade tolerance: tolerates partial shade

References

[8] Bonney N (1997) Economic native trees and shrubs for South Australia. Greening Australia, South Australia.

[11] Kent K, Earl G, Mullins B, Lunt I, Webster R (2002) Native Vegetation Guide for the Riverina: notes for land managers on its management and revegetation. Charles Sturt University, NSW.

[12] Berkinshaw T (2006) Native Vegetation of the Northern and Yorke Region. Greening Australia, South Australia.

[16] Walsh NG, Entwisle TJ (1994 - 1999) Flora of Victoria. Volume 2 - 4, Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[66] Cayer LW, Crisp MD, Telford IRH (1999) Bursaria (Pittosporaceae): a Morphometric Analysis and Revision. Australian Systematic Botany 12, 117-143.

Internet links

PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Bursaria~spinosa

South Australia Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/cgi-bin/texhtml.cgi?form=speciesfacts&family=Pittosporaceae&genus=Bursaria&species=spinosa

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