Monaro Golden Daisy (Rutidosis leiolepis)
What is the Monaro Golden Daisy?
The Monaro Golden Daisy is a tufted perennial herb, with a cluster of leaves at the base and yellow flowers on the top of a 30cm woody stem. It is one of many nationally threatened species that occur in the tiny remnants of the native grasslands that were once extensively distributed across the Monaro Tablelands and into the montane areas of the Snowy Mountains.
Until recently, the location of the Monaro Golden Daisy was thought to be confined to Kosciuszko National Park (NP) in the southern NSW Alps, where it is known from 21 locations on high treeless plains totalling 17 hectares. Other populations known to survive outside the Park further east on the Monaro, including large and viable sites at Radio Hill, on the outskirts of Cooma, and at Adaminaby, and a smaller population at Dry Plain. Earlier recorded sites at Bibbenluke, Nimmitabel and Black Lake have not been re-found in recent surveys.
The size of the Kosciuszko NP populations vary from a relatively large one at Happy Jacks Plain to the small isolated patches of plants at most other sites.
Within Kosciuszko NP, the daisy is usually found in or on the margins of montane treeless plains above 1200 metres that are associated with cold air drainage at night. These native grasslands are dominated by snow grasses or wallaby grasses, and open shrub land. The populations outside the Park are found at lower altitudes (860-1010M) on the native grasslands of the Monaro Tablelands. These lower altitude native grasslands are far more fragmented and restricted than the higher altitude grasslands inside the Park.
The Monaro Tableland populations of the Monaro Golden Daisy face more threats than the Daisies inside the park. Many of the continuing threats are associated with agriculture, such as the impacts of application of superphosphate to adjacent lands, competition from introduced grass and weed species, use of unsuitable fire practices, or the trampling and grazing by cattle or sheep.
Even within the Park, there are still potential threats to the Daisy which include grazing by horses, horse riding, road construction and maintenance activities, illegal access by four-wheel drive vehicles and feral pig activity - pigs remove and dig up vegetation. Such activity is concentrated in the treeless plains, which is the primary habitat of the Daisy.
Field surveys clarifying distribution and assessing threats have been carried out. A number of sites will be monitored to make a more thorough assessment of threats over time. The threats in Kosciuszko NP only occasionally impact on the population and are unlikely to require urgent attention. Both Jindabyne and Tumut District Councils have been advised of the locations of the Daisy in their respective areas to assist with ongoing assessment and protection. Further survey work in Kosciuszko NP is planned for early 2001 and a recovery plan covering the Park population is likely to be completed at the end of the same year.
Community groups have received funding from the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program (part of the Commonwealth's Natural Heritage Trust) to work in conjunction with local government and state agencies to protect key sites where the Monaro Golden Daisy occurs, such as Radio Hill near Cooma. Important weeding and habitat restoration work is being undertaken, and management guidelines are being produced, to help secure these populations of the daisy over the long term. A recovery plan for the off-park sites is due for completion in 2003.
To help the daisy and other threatened plant species:
- if you are in the Kosciuszko National Park you should not venture from the marked trails or roads;
- if you come across Monaro Golden Daisy populations outside of the Park, please contact Rainer Rehwinkel at the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service on (02) 62989745;
- contact your local community group to see if you can assist in any of the weeding and restoration activities.
To find out more about saving your state's threatened species check out the Threatened Species Network website or call the Network's National Office on (02) 9281 5515.
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of the Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772