Trees for Life is asking SA residents to grow a plant to help the State’s environment on National Tree Day, July 27 2014.
Trees For Life has developed easy-to-grow Ruby Saltbush kits and has got together in a statewide partnership with Foodland SA to sell the kits at Foodland stores. The $1 kits include seed to grow the Ruby Saltbush, step-by-step instructions and jiffy pots. The jiffy pots are a complete propagation system in themselves and expand in water, which means there is no mess and the plants can even initially be grown inside on a sunny window ledge.
Trees For Life chose the Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) species because of its suitability to most parts of the State. It is a shrubby perennial growing up to 1 metre high, with succulent grey foliage and berry-like fruit. It is tolerant of drought, frost and moderate salinity.
The Saltbush berries range in colour from yellow to red and pink and are edible. It is believed that Ruby Saltbush leaves were even eaten by early white settlers to prevent and/or cure scurvy! The species can also be eaten by sheep in drought conditions and the fruit is a valuable food source for many native birds. The plants themselves provide vital habitat for lizards, ants and other native wildlife.
“National Tree Day is now an entrenched and important day in Australia’s calendar as it gets people to not only stop and think about how precious our environment is, but also enables people from all walks of life to get involved in helping the environment,” Trees For Life Chief Executive Officer Greg Boundy said.
“Trees For Life and Foodland SA decided to give everyone the chance to help our environment by developing these kits. We have 20,000 Statewide. If every one of these kits resulted in one or two plants being grown and planted out into the South Australian environment, it would make a huge difference.”
Mr Boundy said individual households could get involved in the project by growing their own Ruby Saltbush and the kits could also be a great way for young children to learn about growing native plants and the environment in general.
“This project can involve anyone – whether it’s a kindergarten or school group or residents in an aged care facility. We’d love all local communities to be part of it!”
Foodland SA has been a valued supporter of Trees For Life since 1996, its contribution helping to grow thousands of native seedlings.
All proceeds from the sale of the kits will go directly into on-ground environmental work within SA through Trees For Life.
Image: Enchylaena tomentosa on a roadside near Mount Hope, Victoria, Australia. Photographer: Melburnian.