Sally Ware, Riverina Local Land Services, Hay, NSW. Email: email@example.com
Yam Daisy (Microseris walteri). Photo: Brett Naseby
Some arid area plants spring up in prolonged wet periods and then disappear, until the appropriate seasons return again. Such is the case for a yam daisy species that is currently in bloom in isolated populations on the Hay plains. The discovery was made in September on the Travelling Stock Route north of Hay in western NSW by Booligal Primary School Principal Lindy Steward, who is also an avid naturalist and photographer.
Since the find, a plant and seed were mailed to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria where identification confirmed the specimen to be Microseris walteri, the more common of the three taxa identified in the Murnong paper published by Neville Walsh in 2016. In addition, seed has been collected by staff from Murray Local Land Services Seed Services and ecologist Martin Driver, and photographs and drone footage have been captured by professional photographer Brett Naseby . A press release has also been issued by Riverina Local Land Services in additional to social media posts.
Yam daisy species Microseris walteri growing in a bladder saltbush Atriplex vesicaria community. Photo: Brett Naseby
Following this publicity and a Riverina ABC interview with Hay-based Senior Land Services Officer Sally Ware, many local landholders are reporting seeing the yam daisies on their properties and images and information are being shared. An important food source for the local Aboriginal population, anecdotal records from the 19th century suggest that there were once large stretches of the daisies before historic stock movements combined with significant dry periods contributed to their rapid decline.
Read more about the Yam Daisy discovery on the NSW Local Land Services website.
Walsh, N (2016) A Name for Murnong (Microseris: Asteraceae; Cichorioideae). Muelleria 34: 63 -67.