Sandra Gilfillan and Sarah Barrett
Wildlife Management Program No. 169
Department of Conservation and Land Management
- Mountain Villarsia (Villarsia Calthifolia) Interim Recovery Plan 2004 - 2009 (PDF - 155 KB) | (RTF - 5.12 MB)
About the document
The first collection of Villarsia calthifolia was made from the Porongurup Range by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller in 1868.
Villarsia calthifolia was declared as Rare Flora in November 1980. At that time it was known from five populations in the Porongurup Range. Surveys undertaken since then by staff from the Department's Science Division and Albany Work Centre have resulted in the discovery of four new populations. Nine populations and 582 mature plants are currently known. It currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN 2000) Red List Category 'EN' under criteria C2a as there is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals. The main threats are weeds, drought, inappropriate fire regimes and grazing. Weeds include Cerastium glomeratum, Erodium cygnorum, Parentucellia viscosa, Stellaria media, Carduus sp, Romulus romea, Arctotheca calendula, Cotula bipinnata. Encroaching upslope into V. calthifolia habitat are blackberry (Rubus fruticosis), red valerian (Centranthus ruber), taylorina (Psoralea pinnata), dolichos (Dipogon lignosis) and forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) (Barrett 2002).
Villarsia calthifolia is an erect, semi-succulent perennial herb growing to 40 cm high when not in flower and up to 75 cm when flowering. The stem and leaf stalks are grooved, the former up to 1 cm wide. The leaves, which have toothed margins, are round except for a slit on one side of the stalk, and are shaped like a shallow funnel or cup. Erect, many branched stems bear numerous flowers, each 1 cm long, including the protruding style. The flowers are yellow with 5 broad sepals and 5 petals, which are united at the base and 5 stamens that are fused to the petal tube. The flowers are borne on long, leafless stalks. Capsules are 1cm long and open at the top into 4 valves to release the seed (Brown et al. 1998).
Villarsia marchantii is a similar but much smaller species that occurs in seasonally wet loams on mid-slopes below populations of V. calthifolia. Hybrids between the two species occur in the overlap zone (Robinson and Coates 1995).