Flowering secrets of Lot 150 revealed

We already knew Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road was ecologically significant. Now a new survey has revealed just how important the 1-hectare block of land is to science and to conservation.  

Kelvin Davies with a Cassowary Plum (Cerbera floribunda)

On our first visit to the property, we found the Green Dinosaur (Idiospermum australiense), one of the world’s rarest and most primitive flowering plants. 

That’s why we immediately set out to purchase the block for conservation, which we successfully achieved with the help of our generous supporters in April.  

But a new survey has revealed just how important this block of land is

During a vegetation survey on the 24th and 25th of April, botanist Kristopher Kupsch found several cryptic, rare, and endemic plant species.

Altogether, a total of 164 native species were identified on Lot 150. 

Among them, are 3 species listed as Threatened and 2 listed as Near-threatened in the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

They include: 

Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi) NCA: Vulnerable

  • Seedlings of Gray’s Walnut were identified on Lot 150 suggesting the Southern Cassowary aided its occurrence. This species grows into a large tree that is restricted to the Daintree lowlands.

Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura) NCA: Near Threatened

  • Noah’s Walnut was identified as a common species on Lot 150. Its fruits are a favourite food for the Southern Cassowary.

Climbing Pandan (Freycinetia percostata) NCA: Vulnerable

  • This climbing monocotyledon plant possesses unique leaves which the bases catch water and thus provide habitat for arboreal invertebrates and frogs.

Small grass (Isachne sharpii) NCA: Endangered

  • The highly localised and Endangered grass was found growing in water in a ponded situation. Approximately 10 individuals were observed. Its known distribution is a range of less than 20km. This recently described species has no common name. 

Daintree Ryparosa (Ryparosa kurrangii) NCA: Near Threatened

  • This tree grows only in the Daintree rainforest between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation. A healthy population was identified on Lot 150.

Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi)

The small grass (Isachne sharpii)

Daintree Ryparosa (Ryparosa kurrangii)

Other significant plants were found to be occurring on Lot 150.

Daintree Cleistanthus (Cleistanthus myrianthus)

The Daintree Cleistanthus is common on Lot 150 and is a common representative in lowland mesophyll rainforest within the Daintree lowlandsThe Daintree Cleistanthus is a small tree only found between the Bloomfield and Daintree rivers in lowland rainforest and again overseas in Southeast Asia.

Millaa Ebony (Diospyros pluviatilis)

The Millaa Ebony whilst quite common in the highlands of the southern Atherton Tablelands extending along the Bellenden Ker Range to Babinda, there are extremely few collections made in the Daintree from Cow Bay-Noah creek district. The Millaa Ebony is quite common on Lot 150.

Green Dinosaur (Idiospermum australiense)

Idiospermum is common in a limited portion of Lot 150. Numerous seedlings and at least 5 mature trees can be found on Lot 150. Preserving this property from development is an important conservation measure to help protect this ancient and restricted species.

Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa)

Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa) occurs on Lot 150. It is an understorey tree less than 3m tall with small yellow fruit in clusters from the trunk and branches. It is restricted to the lowland rainforests of the Daintree. It is abundant on Lot 150.

Daintree Cleistanthus (Cleistanthus myrianthus)

Green Dinosaur (Idiospermum australiense)

Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa)

Other values of Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road.

Lot 150 provides essential habitat for the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) and a male and a juvenile chick were seen on the property. Many Cassowary food plants were recorded during the survey indicating that the Southern Cassowary regularly utilises Lot 150.

Some larger specimens of the ancient Hope’s Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei) were identified and a handful of younger seedlings. These cycads can live for over 1,000 years. 

Of note from Lot 150 were 10 species of native Meliaceae (Mahogany’s), 9 species of native Laurels, 9 species of native Palm and 7 species of native Ficus.

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii)

Hope’s Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei)

Ecosystems and vital habitat for endangered species 

The vegetation on Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road contains two markedly different ecosystems. 

The first is a swamp forest of lower diversity growing in a ponded situation on the majority of the property. This vegetation type is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The second is high diversity, well-developed luxuriant rainforest growing in better-drained soil. While this vegetation type is listed as “Least Concern” in the Vegetation Management Act 1999, it is categorised as essential habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, and the northern subspecies of the Spotted-tailed Quoll. 

The Vulnerable Macleay’s Fig Parrot has also been recorded within 1km of the site.  

Macleay’s Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana). Pic by David White 

Lot 150 is also important in maintaining a vegetated wildlife corridor across the landscape, as the property abuts a significant and extensive tract of forest, from the mangroves to the east containing the biologically rich Cooper Creek-Cow Bay mangrove system and the Thornton Peak mountainous region to the immediate west.

Cooper Creek Wetlands

This is just one example of the ecological value of the 27 properties we have been able to purchase and protect so far. We are now raising funds for the purchase of 2 more Daintree Rainforest properties, Lot 26 Ronald Road and Lot 34 Cape Tribulation Road, and have until June 30 to do so. 

Please, act now to help us purchase and protect these two at-risk rainforest properties and make a tax-deductible donation today. Prefer to use PayPal? Donate here

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2023-05-23 15:18:12 +1000