Search for the Ooldea Guinea Flower
A small, wiry, yellow-flowering shrub is in the sights of SAAL Community Ecologist Ben McCallum.
Ben is on the hunt for the Ooldea Guinea Flower (Hibbertia crispula) which is endemic to South Australia and is only known to be found in two locations, one of which is in the Gawler Ranges.
Being a species that is restricted in its location, Ben is investigating the potential impacts of herbivores on the plant, using the Herbivore Impact Assessment method. Using Biological Database of SA (BDBSA) historical records as a guide, a recent field trip revisited and inspected previously identified specimens.
A population of 150 Guinea-flowers were found in the Moonaree sand dunes in the Gawler Ranges following guidance from the property owner, which could potentially be the Ooldea Guinea-flower and not an intermediate species (between evolving/ speciation).
A nearby record from 1966 in the Biological Database of SA was not located, however it is believed the increased site accuracy using GPS technology may mean the find is a more accurate location for the historic record.
The shrub grows up to 50cm high, has cylindrical leaves, and yellow flowers during spring. It can be clearly identified by the number of stamens, having between 25 and 35. They typically grow in reddish sand dunes in the Gawler Ranges.
Mr McCallum said he believed the records from the Gawler Ranges could be a formation of an intermediate species, most likely derived from the closely related Hibbertia virgata occurring further south.
Mr McCallum said an observation from the trip is that it seems to prefer disturbed soil caused by erosion and fire, he hoped to collect further specimens of the plant as a base for review of existing State Herbarium samples in 2020.
The Ooldea Guinea-flower is a target species for Bounceback and Beyond, which is supported by the SA Arid Lands NRM Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program.
If you think you may have seen this plant in your travels or on your property, please give Ben a call on 0428 321 457.