Endangered plant success!
Back from the brink of local extinction? …Perhaps a little dramatic, but a very positive sign for the parasitic plant Orobanche cernua var. australiana (Australian broomrape). SA Seedbank’s website says that the only place it grows in the “Southern Lofty” area is Cape Jervis, with only 15 plants recorded. You may remember from our December 2017 Plant of the Month that we found 100s of plants and collected some seed. This year Liz and I both tried germinating Orobanche seed along with its preferred host Senecio odoratus. Imagine my surprise when, sorting Liz’s excess Senecio seedlings for the COOTS September planting at Land’s End, I found an Orobanche poking its asparagus-like head through the potting mix. Only the one so far and it has been carefully planted on one of the sand dunes at the COOTS site, along with another 4 Senecio seedlings that all have Orobanche seed with them. Fingers crossed that more Orobanche plants germinate, including the ones we planted in June at our coastal display garden near the ferry terminal, and several other locations on our site.