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Victoria

The flowering shining nematolepsis, Nematolepsis wilsonii (Photo: J. Antrobus)
The flowering shining nematolepsis, Nematolepsis wilsonii (Photo: J. Antrobus)

The only known population of the rare and threatened shining nematolepsis shrub (Nematolepsis wilsonii) was destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire. Fortunately, conservation efforts before the fire, have gone a long way towards saving this species. Before the fire, about 200 shining nematolepsis plants were known. These were under threat of being damaged by the introduced Sambar deer, which ‘de-velvet’ their new antlers each year on the shrubs. This has progressively killed about 10% of the population. The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens has grown more than 300 plants from cuttings and seed. These are planted in a suitable habitat and fenced off to prevent further deer damage. Together, secure translocated plants, banked seeds, and the knowledge of conditions required for successful germination allow hope for the nationally endangered shining nematolepsis.