The last job of the year, 29th December - monitoring of our 2 Small Milkwort (SM) Plots in the Kara Kara National Park.
Both plots are very dry and show signs of incursions by wallabies and kangaroos- scrapes, hip hollows, pruning and droppings.
The larger plot had 58 spikes ( we believe that each rootstock puts up multiple stems and it is hard to decide where each plant starts and ends). There were only 7 flowering spikes in contrast to 24 last year; the spikes were very small and the flowers miserable! Most plants were less than 5cm tall.
On a brighter note, the Eutaxia microphylla and Templetonia stenophylla are doing very well- both are members of the pea family and are very palatable to browsers and grazers so the protection offered by our fence has proved its worth there.
Leafy Templetonia- T. stenophylla flowers and leaves
Common Eutaxia- E. microphylla
The second plot, also known as the "Small Small Milkwort Plot" is also having problems with wallabies- the Peach Heath looked as if a mower had been over it and ditto the Small Milkwort. Only 1 flower spike out of 48 plants was found.
A new colony of SM was found in 2016 and is persisting - 7 stems but no flowering spikes. It is likely that more SM is out there but the smallness of the plants, and near-impossibility of seeing them unless they are flowering makes this plant difficult to find.
Summer, grass-seeds, mosquitoes and heat all combine to make searching for it quite a task.
Monitoring data for this project will soon be on our website.
The Yellow Gums in both plots have been flowering and are now getting ready to shed their bark- the colours are astounding.