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Common and iconic, but does this mean it’s truly secure?

Lechenaultia macrantha Lechenaultia macrantha the wreath flower
Photo: Luke Sweedman, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
   

Lechenaultia macrantha
Wreaths formed on a graded roadside
Photo: Luke Sweedman, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

 

     Lechenaultia macrantha
 Lechenaultia macrantha - a “must see” plant for wildflower enthusiasts.
Photo: Luke Sweedman, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

Western Australia (WA) is home to a vast and varied array of unique plant life. Stunning colours and forms across a range of species in cultivation provide a real fingerprint for a WA garden. Species in cultivation such as the kangaroo paws are widespread; however, there are only around 24 species and subspecies in the wild. Many of these remain poorly collected and are yet to be stored in secure long term seed bank collections. One such subspecies that is poorly known is Anigozanthos manglesii subspecies quadrans, the subspecies of the WA State emblem, Anigozanthos manglesii.

Another fascinating iconic species is the wreath flower (Lechenaultia macrantha). This plant is truly held in awe throughout WA and is the focus of specific wildflower tours.

Collecting for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership's 1000 Species Project

Anigozanthos manglesii subsp. quadransAnigozanthos manglesii subsp. quadrans in flower
Photo: Luke Sweedman, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

   
 Anigozanthos manglesii subsp. quadrans fruiting
Photo: Luke Sweedman, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

As part of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority’s (BGPA) contribution to the 1000 species project this season Kings Park and Botanic Garden collectors targeted Lechenaultia macrantha and Anigozanthos manglesii subspecies quadrans.

Lechenaultia macrantha had a good season with favourable rains in the eastern wheatbelt and was found growing in large numbers in its favourite spots beside graded roads in the Perenjori area. It is a short lived herb or shrub, flowering in spring then dying in summer. Specimens were collected in full flower and then sites revisited up to three times until early summer as fruits ripened.

The hot sand plain or Kwongan area around Eneabba, 200kms north from Perth provides a home for Anigozanthos manglesii subsp. quadrans, a subspecies of the better known plant which differs in its more vivid colours, its more branching characteristic, as well as other morphological features.  Timing is crucial for collecting seeds from these plants as a previous season fire is required for seedlings to be stimulated, then flowering begins in August and seeds are available in December. Luckily conditions proved to be ideal for both the target species during this collecting season.

Significant seed collections were made from many plants across several provenances and this seed will be placed in secure long term storage at the WA Seed Technology Centre at Kings Park in Perth.