Pimelia orthia- a threatened plant

Pimelia orthia in flower

Shakespear Open Sanctuary is a sanctuary not only for birds and reptiles but also for rare and threatened plants. Pimelea orthia is one such plant. It is possible that the park’s pest free status is allowing its numbers to expand as well as the suitable habitat  being present.
The New Zealand Plant Conservation Network categorises the conservation  status of this plant as data deficient but probably highly threatened. It is endemic and found in scattered localities throughout the North Island. Its habitat includes coastal to lowland in open scrubland to grassland overlying leached to infertile soil or on dunes and open outcrops.
It was first recognized to exist on the NZ defence Force land in 2011 growing on the roadside of one of the roads within this territory which is not open to the public. Growing on the roadside it was highly vulnerable to roadside spraying which was aimed at keeping the roads open.  It has been monitored irregularly after its discovery , but after the loss of some plants has been more clearly marked with battens and tape surrounding each plant.
Late in 2016 volunteers monitoring the robin population discovered another population when it was flowering strongly in another location on the defence land and a further search in January 2017 has located a third location. It is likely these populations have existed for some time, but as the plant is quite cryptic these has not been identified until the excellent flowering season revealed them.
This plant has not been located in the main park, likely to be because the appropriate habitat does not exist there.
An attempt at growing from cuttings has not to date been successful, but after the excellent flowering and fruiting season late in 2016 an attempt is to be made to grow additional plants from seed.

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