Wonderful surprise waiting for keen-eyed botanists

Posted 07 September 2021.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board ecologists received an unexpected surprise when they made an early spring trip to check on critically endangered Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland around the Tailem Bend area.

The Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the landscape levies.

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland Ecologist Nicola Barnes said we certainly hadn’t anticipated the sight that greeted us. What a timely display to celebrate September, which is biodiversity month and threatened species day on 7 September.

“Thousands of tiny native plants have come up this year, clearly enjoying the best rainfall we’ve had for a few years now,” Ms Barnes said.  

“Luckily, our botanists have a keen eye because most of these amazing plants are under 5 cm tall!

“There are thousands of the tiny Austral adder’s-tongue – a tiny fern with only one leaf. The adder's-tongue fern gets its name because the tall stalk that bears its spores resemble a snake's tongue.

“But the most amazing display was from the early Nancy’s.  

“These tiny lilies are always the first to bloom each season and will leave no trace by the time spring is here.  They are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female flowers.

Ms Barnes said we will be holding field days and native pasture walks in spring, which we will advertise through our e-newsletter and social media platforms. So, look out for them and come along to find out more.

A diverse grassland such as Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grasslands with plants that grow at different times throughout the year and have different root systems is a big win for farmers interested in maximising production and soil moisture-holding capacity.

The Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia is a critically endangered vegetation community listed nationally under the EPBC Act 1999.  

 


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