NEW START: Jordan Bernhardt, of Lennox Head, plants a coastal fontainea on the Lennox headland.
NEW START: Jordan Bernhardt, of Lennox Head, plants a coastal fontainea on the Lennox headland. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Mucking in to save rare plant

CONSERVATION and wildlife biology student Jordan Bernhardt has been involved in a very special project this week.

The Lennox Head resident is studying at Murdoch University in Perth and came across Lennox Head Landcare during research for a project.

That's how she heard about the rare coastal fontainea tree.

Coastal fontainea was discovered by a couple of botany students in the early 1980s but there are only 10 mature trees in Australia - and they are all at Lennox Head.

In an effort to boost the population, a new project is under way to plant more trees. The first community planting session was held this week.

"I feel very honoured to be planting this endangered tree," Jordan said.

North Coast Local Land Services officer John Nagle said staff had used cuttings from the wild mature trees to grow more trees in a nursery.

They are being replanted in places such as the Lennox headland. Bushland Regeneration Services and Lennox Head Landcare will tend them.

This week saw 10 new trees, male and female, planted. Mr Nagle said it was important to have a mix of male and females to maximise pollination and the crossing of genetic information.

 

COASTAL FONTAINEA

It is a small tree or large shrub that may grow to a height of 8-10m

The plant has small, whitish flowers about 1cm in diameter, with four or five petals and silky, velvety hairs

The fruit is red and grows to about 2-2.4cm in diameter.


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