Threatened flora happenings – winter news from the South East

In recent threatened flora news we have two sub-projects of RUEC to talk about: Avenue Cassinia (Cassinia tegulata) and threatened orchids.

Avenue Cassinia is a critically endangered shrub endemic to the area between Kingston SE, South Australia, and Edenhope, Victoria. There are only about 1200 known individuals remaining in the wild, so our project aimed to propagate and plant out over 500 seedlings which should significantly boost the species’ total population. The planting (or translocation) of these individuals is now underway, with two recent planting days ensuring about two-thirds of the stock has now been planted.

Usually with any planting event we are anxiously watching the weather forecast, crossing our fingers and hoping for enough rain after planting. But not this year! Anyone who has spent any time out and about in our region in the last few weeks will already know how much water is lying around, and you can see from the photo below we have no concerns about our Cassinias not getting enough water! Luckily Avenue Cassinia is a species which does not mind occasional inundation and should cope well with these conditions.

Sam planting into an already water-filled hole

Sam planting into an already water-filled hole

Future work on this species will include collecting seed from the Big Heath Conservation Park population, then growing and planting 100+ individuals to bolster that colony; a prescribed burn plan will also be prepared for the species and a burn will be undertaken to learn more about the response of the Cassinia to fire.

In other threatened flora news, we are in the midst of conducting emergence checks on the threatened orchids which we planted last winter. Four different endangered species were planted in a number of locations around the South East (read more here), and early signs are that most sites are doing well, surviving, and beginning to re-emerge after their summer dormancy. More in depth monitoring will take place in spring when flowering occurs.

Metallic Sun-orchids display various coloured flowers

Metallic Sun-orchids, one of the species involved in last year’s translocation