Saving Silky scaevola – part 2

In an earlier posting from October 2006, we discussed the single specimen of Scaevola anchusifolia (silky scaevola) that remains in the Cottesloe Native Garden. For three years we have been hoping to collect seed from the plant but we have not managed to collect any viable seed. Kings Park and Botanic Garden is always happy to give advice to volunteer environmental groups so with their help, cuttings were taken and eight plants were grown. One stock plant was given to ‘Nuts about Natives Nursery’ in Beenup. Seven other silky scaevola seedlings were recently planted in Cottesloe Native Garden near the solo parent plant.

We are delighted that Town of Cottesloe has agreed to fund a Biodiversity project to $3000 to pay the nursery for plants. CCA volunteers are working towards planting more Silky scaevola seedlings plus seedlings of other locally endangered plants. To date cutting material has been taken (where seeds are not available) from locally threatened plant species to grow the ‘stock’ plants. Cuttings from the stock plants will then be grown ready for planting during the winters of 2009 and 2010.

(Left) Katrina taking cuttings from silky scaevola.

There are remnant specimens of at least 66 local native species in Cottesloe but until now Cottesloe Coastcare has generally focussed their efforts on returning approximately 20 common local species to project sites. The group has made repeated attempts at growing other ‘difficult to grow’ species by providing cutting material to commercial nurseries but the results have been very poor. Presently there are 13 plant species under severe threat in Cottesloe, with less than 5 remaining plants of each species. The biggest threat to the local plants is severe weed invasion.

CCA is excited about this new project to increase the local plant biodiversity in our precious natural areas.