Name a plant, save a species

Be a champion of our unnamed, but not unloved, threatened species.
By AG STAFF August 20, 2020 Reading Time: 3 Minutes Print this page


If you’ve no idea what Phebalium bifidum is, you’re in good company. The rare plant, native to the Capertree Valley in New South Wales, is one of 230-plus threatened plant species at risk of extinction in the state.

According to NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Threatened Species Conservation Manager Linda Bell, 65 per cent of the Australian native species at risk of extinction in NSW are plants, however they struggle to garner the same level of conservation attention and support as their cute and cuddly animal counterparts.

“While conservation of iconic species like the koala and the brush-tailed rock-wallaby will always be critically important, we cannot forget the crucial role our native plants play in the health of all ecosystems across NSW,” Linda says.

“The Saving our Species program has invested over $3.3 million to save over 230 threatened plants in the 2019-20 financial year, but we need the community to get behind our plant species too.

“Almost three quarters of these plants are known only by a scientific name, like Pterostylis riparia, a beautiful ground orchid found only in the Barrington Tops. These names are hard to pronounce and even trickier to
remember, making it hard for these plants to find a place in the hearts and minds of our community.

Zieria odorifera ssp. Copelandii

“That’s why we’re asking everyone to get involved and suggest catchy, easy-to-pronounce names for eight unnamed, but not unloved, threatened species found in NSW.

“This is your chance to make your mark on threatened species conservation in NSW. Whether the name means something to your community or your culture, suits the look of the species or just makes you smile, we want to
hear from you.

Nitella partita

“We’d especially love to hear name suggestions that recognise the living history of our Indigenous people and their connection to the land on which these threatened species are found.

Submissions for the ‘Name Our Species’ competition are open now and will close on Friday 28 August. Enter here.

Pterostylis ventricosa

Entries will be judged by a panel of threatened species experts from the Saving our Species program. Winners will be announced on Threatened Species Day, 7 September 2020, and will be featured on social media and the Saving our Species webpage throughout September.

The eight species on the hunt for a new name are:
Nitella partita – algae found in north west NSW
Acacia meiantha – wattle found in NSW central tablelands
Acacia baueri subsp. Aspera – wattle found in the Blue Mountains
Pterostylis ventricosa – orchid found in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands
Diuris bracteata – orchid found between Sydney and the Central Coast
Pterostylis riparia – orchid found in Barrington Tops
Zieria odorifera ssp. Copelandii – shrub found in Mount Kaputar National Park
Phebalium bifidum – shrub found in Capertee Valley.