Separating the native wanderers from the weeds

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While weeding his bush block early in the new year, long-term SOWN member Wayne Briscoe stumbled across a ground cover growing profusely on the rocky hillside.

As a keen bushcare volunteer, Wayne recognised the plant as one of the Commelinaceae family but knew that with tiny white flowers, there was a good chance it was the weed Tradescantia fluminensis Wandering Dude.

“But it looked so vibrant and happy,” Wayne said, so he sent a photo to other SOWN members to try to get an identification.

With no-one willing to make a firm identification, the photo was posted to the Queensland Plant Identification group on Facebook.

It was quickly identified by Rob Price, botanist for SOWN’s Protect The Gap Rainforest project, as a local native plant called Aneilema acuminatum Free Wanderer.

Wayne was very relieved to know it was native not just because it’s a lovely plant.

“It’s so well spread, I was dreading adding that to my list of things to remove,” he said.

SOWN volunteers swung into action.

Photographer Mark Crocker took close-up photos of the flower and web-site volunteer Anne Jones entered Free Wanderer onto our list of Plants to Plant.

Glenella Street Park bushcare site leader, Marina Novak, has volunteered to try propagating the plant for the SOWN Nursery.

Once the close-up photo was available, the difference between these two wanderers became more obvious.

Aneilema acuminatum Free Wanderer is a native plant in the Enoggera Creek catchment. PHOTO: Mark Crocker

Tradescantia fluminensis Wandering Dude is a weed in this area. PHOTO: Robert Whyte