10 July 2012

NEWS: It’s bloom time for rare Mallee plants in Victoria

Research by the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) has shown the Mallee woodlands in North-west Victoria are blooming due to a combination of good rainfall and 20 years of pest control work.

ARI Principal Scientist (Flora Ecology) David Cheal said: “The study of native cypress-pine and casuarina woodlands from the Millewa in the far north-west to Wyperfeld near Rainbow and Hopetoun identified 22 species of plant listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Act as well as two species not formally recorded in Victoria before.”

“Years of Parks Victoria work managing grazing animals means the good seasons have had a significant impact on a lot of Mallee plant species and some of those benefits will be long term,” Dr Cheal said.

“Thanks to that work, we have collected the first ever Victorian specimens of the Desert New Holland Daisy (Vittadinia eremaea), also collected by local botanist Ian Sluiter and a small annual grass (Spike Grass) and these are now in the National Herbarium of Victoria.”

“Some of the other threatened plants identified that haven’t been seen for years included Desert Lantern (Abutilon otocarpum), Sandhill Spurge (Phyllanthus lacunellus), Bush Hibiscus (Radyera farragei) and Spear-fruit Copperburr (Sclerolaena patenticuspis). Some of these plants have returned in large numbers and we are seeing perennial shrubs growing where we previously had annual grasses or bare ground.”