Rare Mountain Daisies
Image: Preserved specimen: Brachyscome foliosa. Collector Megan Hirst. Collector Number MJH 224. (MEL: 2388767A), National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Curation notes by: Dr Megan Hirst, Seedbank Officer, The Victorian Conservation Seedbank, The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.Contributors
Please ask permission of the copyright owner to reproduce.Copyright
Copyright in image with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Copyright in text with Megan Hirst.
Can a rare daisy that is only found growing on Victoria's cool mountain plains successfully grow somewhere warmer?
A recent experiment by the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens and Melbourne University into the growth habits of a group of alpine daisies from the genus Brachyscome tried to answer this question. Researchers tested growing different species of the daisies in environments outside their alpine habitat.
The researchers also wanted to know if there was a difference in growth habits between daisies which were quite common and those which were rare. They wanted to test if a rare species would show a strong association with their habitat type (i.e. a habitat specialist) compared to species that occur over a wider range of habitats (i.e. a common species). This is important because almost all native plants growing in Australia’s mountain regions are endemic, meaning they aren’t found elsewhere. Many live in highly specialised habitats such as sphagnum bogs, tussock grassland, shrub lands, and rocky outcrops.
Brachyscome foliosa (the collection item shown) is a small, rare alpine daisy confined to a few localities within the Australian Alps. It is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 as a threatened species, and vulnerable in Victoria. In the Victorian Alps B. foliosa can be found growing in isolated populations above the tree line, and this particular collection grows precariously close to ski lifts in a windy alpine heathland in the Bogong Highlands.
Curation notes by: Dr Megan Hirst, Seedbank Officer, The Victorian Conservation Seedbank, The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.