2016 – Kiwirrkurra – Balgo Track

The search for seed of Grevillea wickhamii

An avid grower of Australian Native Plants, Phil was very keen to obtain some fresh viable seed of Grevillea wickhamii on this centralian trip. Once into the west of the McDonald Range, flowering plants were soon spotted, resulting in a convoy halt for closer inspection. However, alas, there were no suitable mature fruit.

Hundreds of kilometres further west along the Gary Junction Highway, often on rocky outcrops, more instances of flowering plants were espied, but with similar disappointment.

The Desert Discovery survey began from Kiwirrkurra and advanced along the Balgo track. Again, Grevillea wickhamii was found on rocky ground, either lower flat areas or elevated in breakaways. However, the mature fruit eluded Phil. Of course, by this time, all botany team members were spotting shrubs and vying for the status of finding the most advanced fruit.

The further north we traveled, the more advanced the season and more fruit instead of flowers were found on the grevilleas. However, nothing was mature enough to save and use for propagation.

In desperation, on the last day of the expedition, Phil found a few coloured fruits, not ideal but the best from a long sustained search. However, these proved to be unviable.

This seed hunt instilled in us the very wide distribution and adaptability of Grevillea wickhamii – the hardiness of the species to grow and flower so beautifully in such arid conditions

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