Subtle grace - silver tussock and shore spurge

With a quiet beauty but resilient enough to cope with the tough coastal conditions - two NZ native plants in a roadside planting down by the beach at Island Bay.

Silver tussock is Poa cita or wi.  It belongs to a large family of grasses, many used as pasture - a famous relative is Kentucky bluegrass.  This New Zealander is a tussock with dense tufts of fine silvery-green foliage, upright but flowing in habit.  Poa cita thrives in dry and difficult terrain.  I don't think anything grazes it - studies of Poa cita grassland in the South Island seem to suggest that sheep graze on non-native plants/weeds and actually improve things for the native plants, which thrive better in the grazed areas.  It shows us how important it is to test our ideas - I would have thought protecting the Poa cita grasslands from sheep would serve them better.  And I am sure that this is a finding specific to these arid zones where the less palatable Poa cita is being encroached by tasty introduced weeds.  In most other settings, grazing by introduced animals is pretty disastrous. 

Shore (or sea) spurge, or sand milkweed, is Euphorbia glauca or waiuatua - plants are often blessed with many names!  I love its colours -  soft grey green to blue green with reddish stems and tiny flowers surrounded by curious dark red/maroon cup-like structures.  It has a much more limited distribution - coastal cliffs, banks, sand dunes and rocky lake shore scarps. It is in decline - coastal developments, competition from introduced weeds, being eaten and trampled by introduced animals like sheep and help from the grazers for it.  But it has finally been recognised as an attractive plant for gardens as well as for amenity use (when Euphorbias were fashionable I used to humph about how it had been overlooked.)  This bit of human disruption might be helpful.

So - stories of survival in a small amenity planting, enriching the pleasure of what we see.