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Preventing extinction of Victoria’s threatened flora

Acacia phasmoides – Credit: Laura Simmons

This Victoria-wide project aims to prevent the extinction of 24 endangered or critically endangered Victorian plants. We will focus on two botanical hotspots, the Gippsland and Grampians regions and also include threatened flora from the Barwon South West and Port Phillip Regions. This project will address key threatened species recovery actions from 11 threatened species Action Statements and 11 National Recovery Plans and work to optimise conservation actions across the life cycle of the plants.

The project will lead to long-term conservation benefits for the 24 plant species, both onsite and offsite (in situ and ex situ). Our ex situ actions include collecting seeds, spores, rhizobia and mycorrhiza which will be kept in seed and spore banks and nursery facilities at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. These ex situ plant collections will act as long-term insurance populations, a source of material for future reintroductions, and will help us carry out further research. The project began on 1 June 2023 and will run until the second half of 2026.

The ANPC is pleased to be collaborating on this project with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, La Trobe University and the other partners listed below.

Phebalium glandulosum subsp. macrocalyx – Credit: Andre Messina


This project will follow an integrated conservation framework which includes the following activities:

1. Threat assessments, field surveys and community surveys. This includes detailed mapping of populations to establish the number of surviving plants, allow comparison with past population estimates, and maximise the known plants available for seed collections.
2. Seed and spore collection. For all 24 species, seeds or spores will be collected during the appropriate season, viability tested, and stored in a seed/sporebank.
3. Conservation genetics. For 10 species genetic analysis is required for wild plants, stored seed or plants currently held in cultivation to inform additional seed collections and ensure genetic diversity is captured for ex situ collections and future translocations.
4. Germination trials. We will optimise seed germination techniques for 11 difficult to grow species through germination trials.
5. Pollination studies. Pollinators will be identified at wild (10 species) and potential translocation sites (9 species) to assist with selecting future reintroduction sites based on pollinator presence.
6. Developing permanent ex situ living collections. For 20 species we will grow a genetically diverse ex situ population. For 12 species (Fabaceae and Orchidaceae), symbiotic propagation will be undertaken to generate seedlings (using mycorrhizal fungi isolated from the orchid or rhizobia isolated from the pea plant).
7. Establishing new populations through propagation. For nine species we will introduce >200 genetically diverse individuals to a new site with their essential symbionts and pollinators present.
8. Workshops. One-day workshops on Victorian threatened flora conservation will be held in the Port Phillip, Gippsland and the Grampians (Gariwerd) regions. These are scheduled to be held in 2025.

Caladenia rosella – Supplied: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria


Project species and threat rating

Scientific Name
Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act Status
EPBC Act Status
Acacia phasmoidesNorth eastCRVU
Adiantum diaphanumGippslandCR
Caladenia ancylosaGippslandCR
Caladenia rosellaPort PhillipCRCR
Caladenia validaGippslandCR
Craspedia canensGippsland, Port Phillip, Barwon South WestCR
Daviesia laevisGrampiansCREN
Diuris ochromaGippslandENVU
Grevillea microstegiaGrampiansCR
Grevillea pachylostylaGippslandCR
Grevillea parvulaGippslandEN
Isoetes pusillaWangarratta, Albury, North CentralEN
Phebalium glandulosum subsp. macrocalyxNorth west Swanhill, around Wimmera/ Dimboola Hindmarsh etcCR
Pimelea pagophilaGrampiansENEN
Prostanthera galbraithiaeGippslandENVU
Prostanthera walteriGippslandEN
Pterostylis basalticaBarwon South WestCREN
Sphaerolobium acanthosGrampiansCRCR
Spyridium furculentumGrampiansCREN
Swainsona plagiotropisNorth Central MitiamoENVU
Swainsona reticulataNorth West but interstate SA NSWEN
Swainsona sericeaNorth central, east and Wimmera  Vic plus over the border.EN
Thelymitra mackibbiniiWimmera and North CentralCRVU
Xerochrysum palustreBarwon South West, GippslandCRVU

CR – critically endangered, EN – endangered, VU – vulnerable

Dr Andre Messina (seed collection)
Dr Noushka Reiter (Orchidaceae, rhizobia, mycorrhiza germination research)
Dr Rebeca Miller (germination research)
Dr Meg Hirst (germination research)
Dr Hong Zhang (seedbank technical assistant)
Dr Daniel Ohlsen (sporebank collection and research)
Dr Alastair Robinson (Manager Biodiversity Services)
Dr Ryan Phillips (pollination)

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
La Trobe University
• Australian Network for Plant Conservation
Trust for Nature
Bairnsdale and far East Gippsland Field Naturalists
Friend of the Grampians Gariwerd
• Halls Gap Botanic Gardens
Australasian Native Orchid Society Victorian Branch
Nillumbik Shire

Funding acknowledgement
Funded by the Victorian Government Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) Nature Fund, and project partners.