More good news for the Critically Endangered Avenue Cassinia in the Limestone Coast region

This is not so much good, but great news!! Both of the ecological burns we conducted in the past year or so at Cassinia tegulata sites have successfully stimulated germination of seedlings. The first burn took place in spring 2019 at Avenue (SA), the eastern-most Cassinia population (read more about it here); this was followed by a burn at the northern Blackford (SA) site in autumn 2020 (read more about that one here).

Can you spot the Cassinia seedlings? They’re the light green daisies (not much more than 5cm tall) in amongst a bunch of other darker green daisies at the Avenue site.

Ryan and I visited both burn sites recently and were pleasantly surprised to find seedlings at both sites. How fantastic! At the Blackford site we counted 33 individuals, 95% of them were less than 5 cm in height, so only newbies. Then we headed over and counted the Avenue roadside site. Well, our numbers hit the tonne in no time. Greater than 125 were recorded and I think we’ll still find more (100% were less than 5 cm in height).

These burns incorporated a control area which didn’t contain any mature Cassinia plants to see if wind dispersal was an important factor in understanding how this species behaves post-fire. Wind has played a small role in helping new individuals establish away from parents but at this point in time only a few have been found more than two metres away. So wind dispersal of seed appears not to be an important factor with most seedlings coming up in and around the base of each of the parent plants.

Blackford site Cassinia seedling > 10 cm in height and growing really strong.

This project is not over yet – we’ll aim for a second year of monitoring to be confident on the overall success of burning and if wind dispersal of seed is an important factor. We will also to keep an eye on any threats to the seedlings survival (i.e. herbivores).

Nature Glenelg Trust would like to thank OneFortyOne for their support to continue this important work for Avenue Cassinia.

Bryan Haywood