BUTTON WRINKLEWORT (Rutidosis leptorhynchoides)
Talk by Ben Courtice
OUR APRIL and LATER MEETINGS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION. OUR SITUATION WILL BE REVIEWED IN JULY
“This pretty daisy used to be widespread in grasslands and woodlands. Now it’s almost disappeared from Melbourne’s western plains, is locally extinct in Gippsland, restricted to a few remnant populations in Victoria, and its stronghold is around Canberra/ACT where there are a few big populations remaining. It has declined, like many grassland species, because these environments are mostly now cleared for farming and suburbs.
For my BSc honours research project, I looked into why the main remaining population in Melbourne, at Truganina cemetery, is on a slow decline. I investigated which pollinators visit the flowers, and if they are only attracted to large dense patches of the flowers, which would mean small and sparsely distributed populations might not get pollinated enough to persist. Along the way I discovered a bit about what likes to eat it as well, while finding that native bee pollinators do indeed like to visit big dense patches. I will explain about the plant and its insect visitors, why grassland plants are important, and what we can do to revitalise this important and beautiful ecosystem.”