Dyschoriste

Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa leaf detail
Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa infestation
Dyschoriste depressa buds
Dyschoriste depressa leaf detail
Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa flower budding
Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa
Dyschoriste depressa
Herb
Opposite
Simple
White
Pink
Purple
Green

A long-lived herbaceous plant with spreading to upright stems usually growing up to 60 cm tall. Its stems are usually square in cross-section and are hairless or finely hairy. Its relatively small leaves (up to 60 mm long) are paired along the stems. Its mauve, pinkish or whitish coloured flowers are borne in almost stalkless clusters in the upper leaf forks. These small tubular flowers (less than 10 mm long) have five small spreading lobes at their tips. Its small fruit is an elongated, cylindrical capsule (10-15 mm long) that explosively releases its seeds.

Common names 
Also known as: Butterfly heaven,
Family 
Acanthaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Spring - Summer
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Southern Africa
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
Class R – Reduce populations
Known distribution 

This species is currently only naturalised in the Moreton district in south-eastern Queensland.

Habitat 

A weed of riparian vegetation, wetlands, forest margins, lawns, footpaths, parks, roadsides, disturbed sites and waste areas.

Habit 

A long-lived (i.e. perennial) herbaceous plant usually growing to about 60 cm tall, but occasionally taller when supported by other vegetation. However, when growing in regularly mown areas it can form dense low-growing mats of vegetation.

Impact and control methods 

Dyschoriste (Dyschoriste depressa) was first recorded as naturalised in Queensland in April 2000, in the suburb of Taringa in Brisbane. It has since been recorded from several other suburbs of Brisbane including Toowong, Indooroopilly, Fig Tree Pocket, Ferny Grove, The Gap and Windsor and is also present in many parts of the Kedron Brook catchment.

Dyschoriste (Dyschoriste depressa) is an emerging environmental weed that is found in parks, gardens, lawns, parks, roadsides, footpaths, and waterways in Brisbane. It prefers wetter environments such as creekbanks and wetlands, but will also grow in drier habitats. It has spread at an alarming rate in recent years and has been observed to develop into very dense monocultures, particularly along waterways in the Kedron Brook, Enoggera Creek and Ithaca Creek catchments. Such infestations have the potential to damage riparian ecosystems and reduce biodiversity, and may also restrict the flow of water.

Stem and leaves 

The stems are either upright (i.e. erect) or spreading (i.e. decumbent or ascending) and where the lower parts of the stems come into contact with the soil they often develop roots at their joints (i.e. nodes). These stems are usually square in cross-section and are either hairless (i.e glabrous) or have a sparse covering of very short hairs that are barely noticeable.

The bright green leaves are paired along the stems and borne on short stalks (i.e. petioles). These relatively small leaves (up to 60 mm long and 25 mm wide) are oval (i.e.elliptic) or egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate) with entire margins and rounded tips (i.e. obtuse apices). They are usually hairless (i.e. glabrous) with a prominent midrib and distinct spreading veins.

Flowers and fruits 

The mauve, pinkish or whitish coloured flowers are quite small (less than 10 mm long) and are borne in small, almost stalkless, clusters in the upper leaf forks (i.e. in axillary clusters). These flowers are tubular in shape with five petals that are fused at the base into a tube (i.e. corolla tube) about 5 mm long and have small spreading lobes at their tips. There are usually three distinct lower lobes and two smaller upper lobes on each flower, with the lowest lobe usually bearing darker purplish-coloured markings. The flowers also have five green sepals, that are fused together at the base into a tube (i.e. calyx tube) with narrowly-pointed lobes, four stamens and an ovary topped with a style and stigma. Flowering occurs throughout the year, but is most common during spring and summer.

Reproduction and dispersal 

Dyschoriste (Dyschoriste depressa) reproduces by seed and also vegetatively, via stem fragments that can take root in damp environments.

This species spreads laterally and individual plants can cover relatively large areas. Stem fragments are cut and spread to new areas by mowers and slashers, and can also be spread down waterways during floods. Seeds are dispersed small distances when they are explosively released. They can also be spread larger distances on contaminated machinery, in dumped garden waste or lawn clippings, or in mud that becomes stuck to animals, shoes and vehicles.

Similar species 

Pink tongues (Rostellularia obtusa and Rostellularia adscendens) are a couple of native plants that can be easily confused with dyschoriste (Dyschoriste depressa). However, these native plants are generally smaller in stature (10-50 cm tall) and their flowers are arranged in dense clusters at the tips of their stems.