The Race to Save Ballantinia antipoda

This tiny native herb, Ballantinia antipoda (Southern Shepherd’s-purse), is a member of the mustard family and one of Victoria’s rarest native flora species. Once known from a number of sites in Victoria and Tasmania, the only dated Tasmanian specimen was collected 1842 and the species is now presumed extinct in that state. It is now known from just one small, isolated population at Mt Alexander near Castlemaine, on moist moss mats over granite.

In a race against time to save Victoria’s Ballantinia antipoda population from a similar fate to Tasmania’s, The Royal Botanic Gardens Victorian Conservation Seedbank team of RBGV staff and volunteers collected seed from which a ‘seed orchard’ was established at the RGBV nursery. Through this process, the team has managed to supply DELWP (the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) with 20,000 seeds per year, allowing them to translocate specimens back into the wild in an attempt to ensure their survival.

Ballantinia antipoda is one of many native flora species that the Gardens have managed to successfully germinate and propagate, with the purpose of reintroducing them to natural habitats. Reintroduction is imperative as these species may play a vital role in their surrounding ecosystem, and other flora and fauna may be negatively impacted by their absence. Click here to donate to fight plant extinction. 


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