Last year Glengower Road in Hepburn Shire, was burnt as part of a CFA training exercise. This roadside is home to Spiny Rice‑flower, Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens, listed as critically endangered under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). On Sunday it was time to see how the plants were growing after the burn and all the effort by the CFA staff and volunteers. It had been a long un-burnt site.
These are not easy plants to find unless you have a keen eye or they are flowering. The small cream-yellow flowers appear from April to August and last year after the burn only a few were visible and some were just burnt stumps. When you see these small plants it is hard to imagine that they are reportedly so long-lived (30 to 50 years and possibly up to 100 years).
This season they are looking very healthy and are flowering profusely. Their long life is down to their very large tap root which may be up to 1.5m deep and it also gives them the ability to survive fire, if it is not too frequent. Male and female plants are required for reproduction along with the right pollinators.
The spiny rice‑flower occurs in grassland habitats mostly on basalt-derived soils in south-western Victoria and sedimentary soils in north-central Victoria according to the Nationally Threatened Species and Ecological Communities EPBC Act policy statement 3.11 (2009).