A low, shrubby plant which grows into untidy clumps or as a straggler through scrub in heavy soils. Fairly widespread. Leaves opposite, sub-opposite or alternate. The leaves sometimes have white salt spots on the under-surface of the leaf. In some cases turn red before falling. Also may have red edges. Small yellow flowers. Fruit are small red berries, quite showy, with small black seeds. Easy to propagate. Previously known as Rhagodia hastata. Another common name is Saloop. Apparently edible, “Leaves edible after boiling to remove excess salt,” (CERES Nursery, Merri Creek, Brunswick, Melbourne). Weed suppressing ground covers for drier areas. Hastate means spear shaped, referring to the triangular shape of the leaves with spreading lobes at the base. A very useful plant, fire retarding, with abundant berries all year round, able to grow on very heavy soils. Recorded as host plant for Saltbush Blue Butterfly, also called Chequered Blue Theclinesthes serpentata relatively small butterfly, with a wingspan of about 18 mm.

Photo: Robert Whyte

References and Resources

Groundcovers published by Hornsby Council

Caterpillars: especially Australian ones by Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley

Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane by Queensland Museum