Shy bluebush (Maireana platycarpa) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Tuesday, 6 July 2021 - 2:33pm

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Shy bluebush (Maireana platycarpa) 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

Shy bluebush is an indicator of good pasture condition in areas where it is common.

Forage value

Shy bluebush is very palatable to livestock and the leaves persist in dry times.


Alkaline soils, floodplains, salt lake margins

General description

Shy bluebush is a low, usually very dense and multi-branched shrub that grows to about 60cm. The individual shrubs can grow to about 1m across. The woody basal branches are near horizontal and the younger leaf-carrying branches grow vertically off the old wood. The leaves are 7–12mm long and oval to flattish in cross-section. They are succulent and densely covered with fine whitish hairs. Shy bluebush flowers in winter and fruits mainly in October. The fruit is a domed woody seed case about 5mm across with a woody protrusion in the middle up to 6mm long. The fruit has a somewhat ragged-edged wing that is sparsely woolly, a cream to pink or brown colour and is about 2cm across.