Mulga bluebush (Maireana convexa) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Tuesday, 21 July 2020 - 4:30pm

Mulga bluebush (Maireana convexa) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands.

This page provides a summary of the plant's value for pastoralism. Pastoral lessees and station managers can use this information to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

Mulga bluebush (Maireana convexa) is a desirable species and an important indicator of good pasture condition. Continual heavy grazing will prevent it from reaching its potential forage value.

Forage value

Mulga bluebush is a valuable forage plant. It loses its leaves only under severe moisture stress. It is palatable and provides a source of protein when annual feed has dried. It responds well to small amounts of rain and produces a lot of bulk, particularly if rested after rain. Mulga bluebush is known to respond well to annual or biennial spelling for 6 months. Spelling allows new plants to establish and existing plants to increase in size.

Habitat

Non-saline mulga, breakaway slopes and saline stony upland

General description

Mulga bluebush is not as compact as some of the other bluebushes and can grow to 2m tall. It has robust, woody lower stems, but the new growth is flexible. The branchlets of the new growth are covered with fine hairs. The leaves are alternate, becoming pointed towards the tips. They are up to 2cm long, 1–2mm thick and covered with silky hairs. The flowers are small and are held between the leaf base and the stem. The seed capsule is woody with a close, woolly covering on the top, surrounded by a showy gold to bronze seed case with a wing up to 15mm across.

Contact information

Kath Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015
Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019

Mulga bluebush (Maireana convexa) in the Western Australian rangelands