Generational Button Wrinklewort seed collection

Collecting seed in the remnant populations of Button Wrinklewort plants this summer took on a whole new meaning for the Glenelg Hopkins CMA project team, with seed collected from plants which were grown from seed harvested in the first round of collection in 2019.

The Button Wrinklewort – a threatened daisy which grows on the Victorian Volcanic Plains of south-west Victoria – has been having its genetic diversity improved through the project which began in 2019.

The Victorian Volcanic Plains Recovery project – which the recovery of the Button Wrinklewort is part of – is supported by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA with funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

In 2019, Glenelg Hopkins CMA team members, Aggie Stevenson and Ben Zeeman began collecting seed from the eight known remnant populations of the plant, which has a different genetic make up compared to other Button Wrinklewort plant populations in Victoria.

For three years, the team have been collecting seed from the populations, and carefully propagating them and replanting the seedlings back into different populations to ensure the plant’s genetic diversity.

This re-planting has been under the guidance of the Arthur Rylah Institute to ensure correct scientific processes.

Survival rates of these propagated seedlings has been high, and in December 2021, the team were particularly excited to be able to collect seed from a plant which had begun as part of the seed collection in 2019 and grown by Ben in his backyard in 2020.

“We collected seed at the Beaufort population from plants grown from seed we collected from the Wickcliffe population in 2019 and which were grown in 2020,” Ben said.

“These plants are now producing seed of their own. Survival rates have been high and we are now collecting seed from some of these plants to establish further populations in 2022.”

The most recent seed collection activities late last year were undertaken at all the known populations of the plant.

Particular care has been taken placing bags at the Button Wrinklewort population at Wickliffe.

“This is a remnant population of around 50 plants. We are very careful here of not collecting too much seed to ensure that enough seed remains to sustain the existing population,” Ben said.