Returning daisy from extinction
It will be a welcome return to Gippsland for one of Australia’s most endangered and regionally extinct plants, the Button Wrinklewort Daisy.
The daisy (Rutidosis leptorhynchoides) is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and is one of 20 top priority species listed for urgent intervention in Australia under the Australian Threatened Species Strategy.
Returning this small native daisy to the Gippsland Plains is the focus of a new and exciting Trust for Nature partnership project, in conjunction with Monash and Latrobe Universities and the Arthur Rylah Institute. The project is supported by funding from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Onground Action initiative to undertake urgent recovery works.
The project aims to re-establish the daisy population on the Gippsland Plains through genetic enhancement and translocation.
The last official record of the daisy on the Gippsland Plains was in 1923.
It has been pushed to the brink of extinction as a result of limited seed dispersal and reproduction causing a loss of genetic diversity and low reproductive success. Weeds, grazing and clearing have also contributed to its demise.
Seed from remaining populations elsewhere in Victoria will be genetically screened for viability for propagation and planting.
Trust for Nature will help assess sites on properties that have covenants (land that is protected permanently) to find suitable areas for translocation.
The remaining populations of the daisy are only found in three locations: near Canberra, western Victorian volcanic plain and the eastern volcanic plain near Melbourne. The largest population is only 1,000 plants.
Photos courtesy Arthur Rylah Institute.