Today we were targeting pampas grass growing outside the fenceline perimeter. I didn't think there would be too much science going on but boy was I wrong. First I had a lesson all about observation. We always talk about careful observation at school, but this time I really needed to think about all the different things I needed to look out for. Pampas grass looks A LOT like native toetoe but if you know what to look for, there are a number of key differences. If I hadn't had a lesson beforehand, then it would have been very easy for me to rip out a number of lovely native toetoe and also a few native flaxs!
Things to look out for
* The dead leaves on pampas grass go curly like wood shavings. On a toetoe they are straight.
* The flowers on pampas tend to stand straight up. On a toetoe they bend over a bit.
* The leaves on pampas have a midrib down the centre. The toetoe has a number of veins visible.
* The base of the leaves are not waxy on the pampas. On a toetoe the base of the leaves are waxy white.
This would be an interesting science session to run with kids - to give them some leaves to actually identify using the key features to help them to observe really closely.
Mark determined not to miss a single pampas grass!
To save carrying weeds around, we turned them upside down
and left them up in a nearby tree to dry out and die.
I had a really interesting day out and really enjoyed learning about the plants both inside and outside the sanctuary. I'm sure my skills of observation also improved!