Salt Marsh - 2

The Plants
Over the last few years, I have had a number of friends help me with the identification of the salt marsh plants which we find in this area.  We have used the Field Guide to Common Saltmarsh Plants of Queensland by Louise Johns.  The on-line version of this guide can be found here. 
In the forward to this book written by the head of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of New South Wales it says that "Saltmarshes are  ...widespread, but until recently they have been virtually ignored - indeed they appear to have been almost invisible." Although there is a local group of dedicated volunteers that study and propagate the local wallum vegetation, I could not find anyone in this group that had done any detailed work on salt marsh plants. 
My knowledge of these plants has grown over the years but I am still not positive that I have all the ID's right,  so I would be very happy to have more knowledgeable people correct me.  From observing the plants in a number of different salt marshes around the bay it appears that none of these plants grow to the height of those described in the field guide.  In other respects they are the same. 

There are various grasses, rushes and sedges which grow around the edges of the salt marsh but the only one which extends out on the flats here is the Saltcouch (Sporobolus virginicus).  All photos enlarge when clicked on.
The most common plant across the salt marsh in this area is Bead weed (sarcocornia quinqueflora). This plant only grows a few inches in height (50-75mm).  It forms quite a dense mat in places.  It varies in color according to the season and the amount of stress put on the plant by the climate conditions. It can be a beautiful pink/red or a solid green.  It has a very small white flower.

Two other common species are Glassworts.  I have had trouble with the ID of both of these plants.  They were formerly known as Halosarcia but the most recent guide now calls them Tecticornia
This plant - Tecticornia pergranulata - is a small erect and woody shrub not more than 12-15 inches tall (300-450mm).  The flowers look just as small as those on the Bead weed but each year I see honey bees foraging on the plants. 
This plant - Tecticornia indica - is less common across the flats.  It grows close to the ground and I have not seen it standing up like the other two plants described above. 
This plant is a Seablite - Suaeda australis.  It grows in among the other plants described above but can also grow in quite large areas by itself. 
The guide lists this plant in the section on 'Other Plant Types'.  It is Creeping Bushweed - Samolus repens.  We first noticed it one day when the flats were covered by the tide and its flowers were floating close to the top of the water.  Over the last few years it appears to be spreading across more of the flats.  I have only seen it growing to a height of about 4 inches (100mm) 
Salt marshes are very fragile environments.  I have been told by scientists working on preserving areas of salt marsh that damage done by 4 wheel drive vehicles can take up to 20 years to regrow and repair.  Hopefully more knowledge about the value of these areas will encourage more people to value them and protect them.