Securing the future of the Mongarlowe Mallee

With just six known remaining individuals, the Mongarlowe Mallee (Eucalyptus recurva), is at serious risk of being lost forever. But there is hope.

South East Local Land Services is partnering with the Saving our Species (SoS) Program run by Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) NSW, on a project to try to save the Mongarlowe Mallee. The project is supported by South East Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

“The Mongarlowe Mallee is a Commonwealth listed critically endangered species. There are only six known individual plants in existence, and they are all located in isolated areas north of Braidwood,” said South East Local Land Services Senior NRM Advisor, Andy Taylor.

The main distinguishing character of this species - from which its name is drawn - is its conspicuously recurved leaf tips.

“These are very rare in eucalypts and are much more developed in Mongarlowe Mallee than in any of its close relatives.”

The leaves themselves are quite small, only 3cm long and 8mm wide. Their white flowers are arranged in clusters of three on a short (5.5mm) common stalk and flowering occurs in late December to early January.

Seed development on the remaining individuals is scarce, due mainly to the distance between plants preventing cross pollination, meaning that it is unlikely new individuals will be recruited naturally.

Mongarlowe Mallee photo John Briggs

“So, these last known remaining individuals are very special plants, and are crucial for the survival of the species”.

Thankfully, the project was able to protect the remaining Mongarlowe Mallee’s from the 2019/20 summer bushfires.

Aerial surveys were conducted by helicopter in March 2021, and will be again in December 2021 to coincide with the flowering season in the hope of identifying previously unrecorded individuals.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) has been tasked with re-trialling propagation techniques to get new plants growing, a tricky process for one of the rarest eucalypts in Australia.

In May 2020, they had some success with germination of seedlings from seeds collected in March 2020 which is a major milestone for the project.

This collaborative project demonstrates the value of government agencies working together to address knowledge gaps and secure a very rare and distinct species.

For further information please contact Andy Taylor or Rebecca Bradley at the Braidwood office of Local Land Services on 02 4842 2594.

Media: Dave Michael, South East Local Land Services, 0418 513 880

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