Following on from last month’s look at a couple of “weedy looking” natives is another native which looks like a weed and unfortunately has a weedy look alike. Bleeding Heart or Homolanthus populifolius (sometimes listed as Omolanthus populifolius) is a rainforest colonising species growing rapidly in recently opened spaces providing shade for later successional plants to germinate and grow in.
Growing to 6m with heart shaped dark green leaves with a paler underside 3-15cm long and 3-12cm wide, leaf stalks are red and the plant has a milky sap, older leaves go dark red prior to falling off. Fruits are a two lobed capsule, pale green with a bluish lustre
The Bleeding Heart can be mistaken for the exotic, weedy Chinese Tallowood (Triadica sebifera), in contrast to the Bleeding Heart the Chinese Tallowood is deciduous, has green leaf stalks, brown/black fruit with three lobes and the bark becomes rough and fissured.
Further info Loughran A. (2007). Native Plant or Weed Volume 2. NSW Dept of Primary Industries.