A Subalpine Herb (Gentiana baeuerlenii)
A Subalpine Herb (Gentiana baeuerlenii) - An endangered species
Gentiana baeuerlenii is a small annual herb that grows to 2-4 cm in height. Each plant has 1-3 bell-shaped flowers which are greenish outside and blue-white inside.
G. baeuerlenii was described from specimens found in 1887 near Bombala (NSW) where it is now extinct. It was not found again until it was accidentally discovered in 1992 in Orroral Valley in Namadgi National Park. This population of less than 20 plants is the only one known.
The habitat is moist tussock grassland and sedgeland associated with groundwater.
Conservation threats. Land clearing and overgrazing during times of drought were probably the main factors contributing to the decline of G. baeuerlenii. Today, the main threat to survival of the population is likely to be deliberate or unintended action associated with park management activities in the local area. The role of grazing by kangaroos is not known. Feral pig activity could be important.
Conservation action. The major conservation objective is to preserve the existing ACT population as the only known place where the species survives.
This will involve managing the habitat to maintain a preferred open structure, protecting the site from inadvertent management impact and maintaining feral pig control in the area. The need and potential for off-site propagation will be explored.