RESEARCH PROGRAM LAUNCHED INTO RARE ORMEAU TREE
A new research program is under way to discover more about a very unique tree species found only in the Ormeau region of south-east Queensland.
The rare Ormeau Bottle Tree is listed as endangered with less than 100 plants believed to be in existence and little known about the extraordinary species.
However, experts are now looking at ways to conserve the tree and increase its numbers under a program sponsored by Ormeau Ridge developer Stockland.
The research is being conducted by the University of the Sunshine Coast in collaboration with the Queensland Herbarium and is expected to take about six months to complete.
Ormeau Ridge is a new Stockland residential community offering a range of home sites in a lush green setting with 40 per cent of land dedicated to open space.
Stockland has already been working with Greening Australia to restore the surrounding environment, revegetating 22 hectares along the Pimpama River with more than 220,000 native plants.
It is also now supporting research on the rare tree species – officially known as Brachychiton sp. Ormeau.
Stockland Regional Manager for the Gold Coast, David Laner, said there were currently no examples of the Ormeau Bottle Tree on the Ormeau Ridge development site.
“However, we were keen to support this much needed research into the future conservation of an endangered species unique to Ormeau,’’ Mr Laner said.
“We may even look at planting some of the new trees in Ormeau Ridge if that is possibility,’’ he said.
Greening Australia’s Robbie Kristenson said the Stockland revegetation program had a significant focus on endangered ecological communities and protecting vulnerable species.
“This land was originally cleared for grazing and it is great to be working on restoring its native vegetation,’’ he said. “We would like to include the Ormeau Bottle Tree in our revegetation work and it is good to see someone supporting the much needed research.’’
The Ormeau Bottle Tree was only brought to the attention of the state’s botanists relatively recently and was immediately recognised as a new distinct species.
It grows to around 30 metres high in Ormeau’s remnant rainforests and develops a distinctive swollen trunk and white flowers that bloom in spring.
As part of the research program, the Queensland Herbarium will provide advice based on the genetics of the Ormeau Bottle Tree species.
“We will be looking to gain an insight into the genetic diversity of the species as a first step to better understanding the conservation requirements” said Professor Gordon Guymer from the Queensland Herbarium.
Dr Alison Shapcott, Senior Lecturer with the Genecology Research Group at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said the research would be used to provide recommendations for recovery, translocations and compensatory populations to enhance the success of conservation measures.
Stockland Media Release: 24 October 2011 – www.stockland.com.au