Plants in peril

Around 10 per cent of Australian plant species are threatened with extinction. Species such as the spiked rice-flower, Pimelea spicata, have all but disappeared from the Cumberland Plain Woodland.

Scientists in the Australian PlantBank are studying how to conserve plant species for the future. Although many endangered species can be grown using tissue culture, and seeds can be stored in the seed vault, it is always better to conserve endangered plants in their wild habitats.

On the brink

Only 26 small populations of Pimelea spicata in western and southern Sydney remain. The main threats to the survival of this endangered species are urban development and weed invasion.

Weed control is one of the best ways to preserve habitats. Invasive weeds include kikuyu grass, which spreads rapidly from nearby lawns. Recent weed control work has revealed thousands more Pimelea spicata plants in the Camden district.