Wee Jasper Grevillea flowers in nature reserve for the first time in 20 years
Recovery measures focused on protecting the flower from the threat of feral goats.
THE WEE Jasper Grevillea (Grevillea iaspicula) — a critically endangered member of the Proteaceae family, has flowered in the Burrinjuck Nature Reserve for the first time in two decades.
The creamy-pink flower can only be found in areas outside of Wee Jasper in southern New South Wales and on the limestone slopes near Burrinjuck Dam in the south-west of the state, where conservationists have worked to recover the species for over 30 years.
According to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, apart from being a stunning native floral, the Wee Jasper is a food source for native nectar feeding birds.
However, the flower is also a favourite treat of feral goats, which almost ate the plant to extinction by the mid-1990s. But tailored protection measures have yielded positive results.
Wee Jasper Grevillea seedling. (Image Credit: L. Lindsay/Environment and Heritage NSW)
“As well as undertaking intensive feral goat control, we fenced the site to protect the few seedlings that emerged unscathed by the goats,” said John Briggs, the threatened species coordinator for the ‘Saving Our Species’ program.
“We paddled out to this remote site on the shores of Lake Burrinjuck and were greeted with small clusters of spider-like pink flowers nestled in among flourishing pointed green leaves. The plants will continue to flower in the coming months and over summer should start producing seed, hopefully resulting in even more recruitment at the site,” he explained.
The Saving Our Species team counted around 150 seedlings that have emerged due to increased protections, which they say will dramatically improve the species long-term survival on the site.