Unlocking secrets of samphire

Westgate Park is home to the only area of saltmarsh to be found between the Yarra and the Mornington Peninsula. And native samphire (Sarcocornia quinqueflora), a succulent and edible plant, is a vital part of the saltmarsh environment.

Samphire propagation

But there is a big problem when it comes to supplying plants for revegetation projects; samphire is slow-growing and that pushes up prices.

So, our Bili Nursery team is working to come up with practical solutions.

“We are doing a lot of experiments with trying to produce samphire faster and better for revegetation,” says Bili Nursery manager Nic Brinkley.

“The goal is to try to find a system to produce really big ones, really quickly, so that we can more greatly assist with saltmarsh revegetation.

“The saltmarsh revegetation is particularly important because it is the [type of coastal] area we have lost the most of in Melbourne.”

Westgate Park’s saltmarsh has, for a different reason, become world famous; it’s also known as the Pink Lake. Under certain hot and dry conditions, the salinity of the water reaches the ideal point where a purple sulphur bacteria (harmless) proliferate. See here for more on this.