There has been a revolution in our understanding of soil formation in the last 20 years.
Narrogin has a part to play in this!
My former work colleague Dr Bill Verboom developed the theory that native plants and associated microbes created most of our soils to get preferential access to soil water and nutrients.
Roots of these plants secrete organic molecules that dissolve ‘locked’ nutrients like phosphorus and stimulate microbes and fungi to produce clays and ironstone gravels.
Hybanthus floribundis is a widely distributed small shrub with another unusual property.
It is an ‘accumulator’ plant that can preferentially extract nickel and cobalt from the soil. Values of up to 23% nickel in leaf ash may represent the highest recorded relative accumulation of a metal in a plant.
Potentially, it could be used to detoxify nickel mining tailings or even used for biological nickel mining.
Unfortunately, is difficult to grow from seed.
Hybanthus floribundis subsp. floribundis is only found in a water accumulating corner of the clay flat adjoining the claypit.
It must have suffered from the dry finish last year as I could only find a single flowering plant yesterday.
A member of the violet family, it has tiny exquisite flowers that most people would not notice