Wombat Forestcare's significant rare plant discovery

Wombat Leafless Bossiaea, Bossiaea vombata in flower

Wombat Leafless Bossiaea, Bossiaea vombata in flower (photo Gayle Osborne)

The rare plant search has been very exciting and rewarding. We started looking for Satinwood plants in the Barkstead area and when this was unsuccessful, moved on to the search for the Wombat Leafless Bossiaea (Bossiaea vombata) in the vicinity of Spargo Creek.

The plant we were searching for had already been seen by staff of the Herbarium who had established that it was a new species only found in the Wombat Forest, Bossiaea vombata, and this was the only population known to be in existence.

Due to the rarity of the plant the exact location was kept secret. Within a short time of commencing our search we located a plant and assumed that it was the same plant that had been found by the Herbarium.

We were stunned to find that our plant was about two kilometres from the "Herbarium" population and had to wait for weeks for the plant to be identified as Bossiaea vombata. Other contenders were Mountain Leafless Bossiaea, Bossiaea ripera, which has been identified at Sailors Falls and River Leafless Bossiaea, Bossiaea bracteosa which occurs in a number of areas in the State.

Line searches near the population failed to locate more plants but during a chance wander into a different forest type, four other populations were discovered. This is a stunning result for our group.

Wombat Forestcare presented with an certificate

On Thursday 25 February 2010, members of Wombat Forestcare were thrilled to be presented with “Certificates of Recognition” by Grant Hull, Group Manager, Biodiversity Services for South West Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Presentation of “Certificates of Recognition” by DSE (photo Tibor Hegedis)

The presentation was an acknowledgement of the contribution of Wombat Forestcare members in the locating of a number of new populations of the extremely rare plant, Wombat Leafless Bossiaea (Bossiaea vombata). Only one example of the species was previously known to the National Herbarium of Victoria.

Members of Wombat Forestcare were also very excited to meet Neville Walsh, Senior Conservation Botanist, Royal Botanic Gardens, and discuss the taxonomy and significance of Bossiaea vombata with him.

This project highlights the way in which community groups, research scientists and DSE can work together to protect biodiversity and involve local communities.