Optimism for the survival of the endangered Euroa Wax Flower
In December 2015, Andre Messina (Seedbank Coordinator), headed off to the Strathbogie Ranges near Euroa in Victoria’s north east.
He was on a mission to collect seeds for the Victorian Conservation Seedbank (VCS), located in the National Herbarium of Victoria. This important fieldwork aims to preserve the increasing number of rare and endangered plants in Victoria. Currently, there are seeds from over 1,300 species stored in the VCS.
Following guidance from local naturalist, Ray Thomas, Andre managed to find the endangered Euroa Wax Flower (Philotheca myoporoides subsp. euroensis). This is a subspecies of the commonly known Native Daphne or Wax Flower. However, this particular little shrub is incredibly rare. Known to exist on just two mountaintops, with most plants growing within an area of just 5 x 5 metres, the Euroa Wax Flower’s natural population extends to about 30 individuals.
Armed with a permit and compelled to take cuttings for our conservation program, Andre returned to Melbourne Gardens and delivered them to our Nursery to be propagated or grown into plants. With close attention from Chris Jenek and the nursery team, they soon produced roots and began to grow into new plants. Two years on, there are about 25 plants of the Euroa Wax Flower flourishing into maturity in our Nursery.
With a little digging around, it turns out that the Euroa Arboretum runs a conservation program and it’s only fitting that some of these lovely plants be reunited with their indigenous area. Now in full bloom, they are ready for departure, to be propagated at the Euroa Arboretum and replanted in the local Euroa area. This will boost the number of Euroa Wax Flowers growing in the wild and also create a backup supply of plants if they face extinction in the future.
The Victorian Conservation Seedbank provides a simple and affordable way to preserve rare and endangered Victorian plants.
Of about 3,500 native Victorian species, almost 800 are considered threatened; that is, they are in danger of becoming extinct in the next few decades.