Plant of the month: the common sour bush

Challenge your green thumb. Have a go at growing the common sour bush at home.

As we dive deeper into the colourful foliage that is our South Australian autumn, April takes us to the coastal town of Port Lincoln, particularly south west to Lincoln National Park, April’s park of the month.

If bushwalking is your cup of tea, Lincoln National Park has it all.

Enjoy wandering through the native scrub and woodland, over beaches and along cliff tops. But remember to stop, look around and bask in the natural wilderness of our state.

You may even spot the State Herbarium of South Australia’s plant of the month, the native common sour bush.

The common sour bush is not as common as the name suggest – it’s actually rare across Australia and difficult to grow.

However luckily for us it can be found in the southern part of SA, from Eyre, Yorke and Fleurieu Peninsulas, to Kangaroo Island and the upper south-east.

This plant is a soft compact whitish to yellow-green shrub that grows to about two metres high. The shrub flowers for much of the year with small white flowers and small greenish mistletoe-like berries.

Have a grow…

Are you up for a challenge? Have a go at growing the common sour bush in your own backyard.

Common sour bush seeds may be purchased from the State Flora Nursery.

A few growing tips:

  • The common sour bush is semi-parasite plant, meaning it feeds off the roots of surrounding vegetation – so plant it close to others.
  • It grows in a variety of soils but mainly on sandy-loam – so check your soil type.
  • The shrub likes good drainage – so aim for elevated sites.
  • Plant from autumn to early spring for best results –the best time is now.

Watch it flow…

If you believe you have Buckley’s chance of growing this rare shrub take a leisurely bushwalk down Investigator Trail or a short energetic Stamford Hill Hike at Lincoln National Park. You’ll see this native shrub softy breezing in the coastal winds.

You may even find local birds and emus snacking on its fruits.

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