Plant notes: Tagasaste

Tagasaste is a spontaneous plant that has self-seeded in the sandy soil of coastal, southeastern Tasmania as well as on the Australian mainland.

Common name

Botanic name

Plant family

Centre of diversity

Natural habitat

Growth form

  • the leaf is made up of three greyish-green equal-sized leaflets
  • flat, green seed pods become black when ripe
  • creamy-white flowers form in small clusters in the leaf axils during June to October in Australia
  • seeds are tiny and shiny black.
A bee makes the most of the the creamy-white flowers of tagasatse

Uses

  • fodder for farm ruminants; high protein content
  • slash and use as a mulch on gardens to make nitrogen available to crops
  • slash foliage to add to compost
  • bee forage.

Useful part

  • leaves for fodder
  • flowers for bee forage
  • foliage for mulching, adding to compost.

Reproduction

  • from seed
  • suited to sandy, well-drained soils of pH range 4–7.
The flat seed pods of tagasaste in mid-winter in Tasmania

Cautions

Notes

  • frost-susceptible
  • deep rooted; in dry soils in summer, tagasaste uses a ‘hydraulic lift’ function to raise deeper-lying moisture via the deep roots and circulate it through the finer feeder roots to extract minerals and release moisture into the soil — similar to banksia.

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Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.