South esk pine

The island of Tasmania off the coast of south Australia is well-known for its endemic fauna, e.g. the tasmanian devil and the now extinct thylacine, but its flora is less well-known. We know it has over 200 endemic flowering plants and only 8 endemic conifers, of which Callitris oblonga is one. There are just 3,000-4,000 individuals of this species left on mainland Tasmania and young plants are constantly under threat from exotic species, fire, flooding and overgrazing. Therefore, in 2004, it fell to Dan Luscombe and associates to explore the overlooked flora of Tasmania and collect seed from the Vulnerable Callitris oblonga, also known as the south esk pine (although it is not technically a Pine).

As with all the seed collecting trips, one crucial aspect is to establish partnerships with the respective botanical gardens and collections. The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens were of great assistance during this trip and Dan could not have learned all that he did without their help.