Southern Shepherd’s Purse

National Recovery Plan review, population census and reintroduction trial

Southern Shepherd’s Purse (Ballantinia antipoda) is a nationally endangered diminutive annual forb endemic to South-east Australia where it has been collected from a variety of locations across central Victoria and the southern Midlands of Tasmania. By the early 1980’s it was thought to be extinct due to habitat loss, but was ‘rediscovered’ growing is shallow soil moss mats on outcropping granite at high elevation on Mount Alexander near Harcourt in 1983.

National recovery plan review

This project involved a review of all Southern Shepherd’s Purse recovery activities to date and in particular assess progress with the implementation of the 2006 National Recovery Plan in order to summarise what we have learnt to date and the implications for the future recovery effort.

2011 population census

The first ever attempt at a comprehensive and systematic census of Southern Shepherd’s Purse across Mount Alexander occurred in September 2011. Specially trained small teams systematically navigated to the all moss mats mapped from high resolution satellite imagery and in the process they encountered many new populations or patches.

2013 reintroduction trial

One of the objectives of the National Recovery Plan is to establish new populations in the wild, and while seed can be easily cultivated, the only attempt at field sown reintroduction to date was not successful. This project involved planning and implementing the reintroduction of Southern Shepherd’s Purse at suitable sites within the Regional Park at Mount Alexander.