Holding on

I do wonder what the coast would have looked like before it was so disturbed by our activity and our mostly accidental plant introductions which are at times plant invasions. You might wonder, why worry about introduced weeds if they are colourful and pretty, or even just if they are successful in difficult terrain?  On one hand, they can be enjoyed and appreciated.  But on the other hand, a successful newcomer can do harm to a whole environment - to the survival not just of the original plants, but also of animals that are adapted to those environments.  Replanting and conservation efforts give us a glimpse of what we could lose if we don't care for the native plants that belong here.  The native ice plant Horokaka, or Disphyma australe, copes with tough coastal conditions - salty winds, dry shingle or sand.  The pale pink flowers open and close with sunlight, and the creeping succulent branches and leaves lie close to the ground.  Although introduced forms of ice plant which are larger in form and flower can threaten the horokaka, it has been replanted and is doing very well along the coast here.

Like many native plants it is rather shy and small-flowered, but its delicate beauty belies its toughness and capacity for survival - provided we give it a chance.