Oct 29, 2010

Excitement in the Scrub

We felt a great sense of achievement at the last working bee, when we discovered a plant we hadn’t seen before.
Fawcett’s Clematis
Clematis fawcettii

This little plant is listed both nationally and in Queensland as “vulnerable”.

It grows in dry rainforest environments like Franke scrub, usually on stream banks, and has become very difficult to find, in the district. Threats to the plant, nationally, are destruction of the habitat by clearing, fire, and grazing.
We all appreciated the importance of saving Franke Scrub because it is a threatened environment type. While it contains some other species which are uncommon in the district, it was the whole environment which we knew needed to be saved from destruction, simply because preserved patches like this often turn out to be the home of rarer species than we knew. And so it has turned out to be!
We found a number of small plants growing in a group. There must have been seeds surviving in the soil all through the long drought, as all but one of the plants are very small. None were flowering. It will be interesting to see, when flowers do appear, whether we have both male and female plants. We can hope for it, as both are needed for seed production.

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