Remnant botanical marvels in Tasmanian cemeteries

​​​Threatened Species Section (TSS) staff and Threatened Plants Tasmania volunteers recently surveyed two cemeteries in the southern Midlands that are key sites for the endangered lanky buttons (Leptorhynchos elongatus).

The first site surveyed was Bothwell Cemetery, which the Central Highlands Council manages under a Vegetation Management Agreement. Careful mowing of the grassland patches within the cemetery over the last 10 years has favoured many native grassland species, including the lanky buttons. 

Monitoring results found the number of lanky buttons at Bothwell Cemetery was far less than in the previous survey in 2019, which was attributed to the dry seasonal conditions. The result was not unexpected as lanky buttons fluctuate annually depending on rainfall and other variables. 

Despite the fluctuations, long-term data shows the population has increased dramatically over the last decade since management practices were implemented for the species. The mowing regime (e.g. timing and height of mowing) has had a positive influence on the numbers of lanky buttons and other native grassland species. 

TSS intends to support the Central Highlands Council to develop a revised management plan for Bothwell Cemetery that facilitates ongoing positive conservation management for the years ahead.

TSS also visited Jericho Cemetery where a systematic baseline survey of lanky buttons was undertaken. This was the first time that a complete population census had been undertaken at this site, which found the population to consist of more than 1000 plants, far more than previously thought. 

Establishing a repeatable survey method at this site will enable changes in the population size to be measured over time. TSS is engaging with Southern Midlands Council to ensure an appropriate mowing regime continues to be applied for lanky buttons and other native grassland species at Jericho cemetery.