Trees

Silver Banksia seed collection strikes gold

Plants grown from Silver Banksia seeds collected by Euroa Arboretum members in the late 1990s are being used to help boost the species’ population across the Agricultural Floodplains in the north of the Goulburn Broken Catchment.

Plants grown from Silver Banksia seeds collected by Euroa Arboretum members in the late 1990s are being used to help boost the species’ population across the Agricultural Floodplains in the north of the Goulburn Broken Catchment. 

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Project Officer Jim Begley said the Silver Banksia Rescue Project was a great example of how botanists, nurseries, seed collectors and landholders were working together to increase the number and genetic resilience of Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) in the region. 

“This is a long-term restoration project that aims to rebuild a dying population of fragmented unique trees that have evolved in Australia over millions of years – the genetics of these plants are ancient,” Mr Begley said. 

“Extensive clearing in the past reduced the populations, then grazing and rabbit plagues wiped out many regenerating juvenile plants, which meant those next generations never developed to maturity. Fortunately Euroa Arboretum members had collected seed from some of the remaining older Silver Banksia populations across the district in the late 1990s. Plants grown from this early seed collection are now mature trees, and producing their own seed in a managed seed production site at Euroa.” 

Mr Begley said 20 landholders had expressed interest in planting the next generation of Silver Banksia plants on their properties this year. 

 “We aim to plant 3,000 plants this year and more each year for the next 10 years – the only limitation will be the quantity of seed available,” he said.

 The project is being delivered in partnership with the CSIRO. 

“Dr Linda Broadhurst from the CSIRO is testing the genetics of the last of the northern Victorian populations and determining if seed production works carried out by Euroa Arboretum will actually improve the genetic resilience of the species into the future,” Mr Begley said “All going well 30,000 trees over 10years might make some change, and then we will do another 30,000. If we can get populations alive and regenerating again, an old food source for honeyeaters, black cockatoos, small mammals and countless insect species will once again flourish.” 

The project is part of a Native Seed Production Project and broader Sand Ridge Woodland Project, funded by the Australian Government and being delivered by the Goulburn Broken CMA, Murray Local Land Services, Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria and DEPI. The Sand Ridge Woodland Project aims to protect the Cultural Heritage values of sand hills across Yorta Yorta country either side of the Murray River. 

For further information about either project, please contact Jim Begley on 03 5761 1574.

Shanon Watkins, Jim Begley and Graham Weston