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Seed bank success saves KI plant species from extinction

Seed bank success saves KI plant species from extinction

An endangered plant has narrowly avoided extinction thanks to the work of the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre.

The De Mole River Correa (Correa calycina ssp halmaturorum) is an endangered sub-species that grows exclusively along the De Mole River on the northwest coastline of Kangaroo Island (KI).

In 2016, concerned about its status, the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre collected and stored seeds from the plants as a safeguard against future environmental threats.

Fast forward to 2020, where much of the Correa population was decimated by bushfires which ravaged the western half of KI, and the species was in serious danger of extinction.

Hopes increased when small seedlings of this plant were found growing in post-fire surveys along the De Mole River, but were lost when an intense summer rainfall event turned the river into a raging torrent and the small seedlings were washed out to sea.

Seed bank success saves KI plant species from extinction
Correa calycina ssp halmaturorum

Thankfully, using the seeds collected in 2016, the SA Seed Conservation Centre were able to grow new plants in Adelaide.

Approximately 40 plants have been returned to Kangaroo Island and planted back along the river.

Additional plants have also been established at the Threatened Flora Seed Production Garden to provide an on-island insurance population with the view of establishing additional wild populations on the island.

Without the important work of the SA Seed Conservation Centre and it's supporting partners; the Correa would have been lost for future generations.

Seed banking provides an insurance policy for endangered and vulnerable plants and is an important part of the Seed Centre's regeneration work on KI.

This project was made possible with the support of the KI community, Australian Seed Bank Partnership, the Commonwealth Government.

SA Seed Conservation Centre is grateful for the support provided by SeaLink to ensure our scientists are able to travel to Kangaroo Island to take part in this important renewal project.

Seed bank success saves KI plant species from extinction
Correa calycina ssp halmaturorum
Seed bank success saves KI plant species from extinction
The Correa grows exclusively along the De Mole River on Kangaroo Island

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