- Fencing is in place to protect the threatened Brundah Mint Bush (Grenfell Form)
- A previously presumed extinct colour variant has since returned
- Cuttings have been secured for future propagation
Prostanthera ovalifolia or Brundah Mint Bush (Grenfell Form), is quickly disappearing. Once a prominent species around Grenfell and the Weddin Mountains area, the Brundah Mint Bush is under threat from predation and ground degradation by feral goats and rabbits that frequent the Brundah Hills area. This particular form has never been found elsewhere, making efforts to save this species even more imperative.
The Prostanthera ovalifolia Grenfell Form has smaller leaves and larger flowers in comparison to its coastal form. The flowers vary in colour with pale pinks and burgundies, various purples and blues, whites and grey tones. Colour variations were decreasing in the area, with mainly purples and the occasional pink found when this project began.
As part of Central West Local Land Services Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Small Grants Incentive Program, funds were allocated to improve the management of pests and weeds in the Weddin Shire. This included constructing a fence to protect a remnant stand of Brundah Mint Bush from feral goats and rabbits. Other deliverables were to raise awareness in the community on the plight of threatened native species and to educate on how to manage weeds in tree lines through workshops and media.
The construction of the fence was carried out by Dennis Simpson, a volunteer at the Weddin Community Native Nursery, with many materials donated by local businesses. The Nursery also undertook to increase the propagation of the Brundah Mint Bush in the interest of preserving this local species for future generations.
The Weddin Community Native Nursery held a workshop with 46 attendees titled ‘Plants That Matter – Protecting Native Plants and Eradicating Weeds in the Weddin Shire’. The workshop included three well-received speakers. A particular highlight of the workshop was watching Noel Cartwright’s film on native flora and fauna found across the Weddin Shire and the need to protect our local species. Take-home booklets were provided to all attendees on how to identify and manage weeds within fenced tree lines.
With the goat proof fence in place, the various colours of Brundah Mint Bush are starting to return with a recent discovery of a smoky grey variant, previously thought to be extinct. The remaining mint bushes have flourished under the protection of the fence and cuttings can be regularly taken to increase propagation efforts. Other native understory is also benefitting from the fence, meaning the creation of a strong diverse ecosystem.
There’s still a long way to go with only one small area holding the bulk of the last wild stand of Brundah Mint Bush, but efforts will continue. With ongoing plantings in the region through nursery sales and a strong supply of cuttings for future propagation, the danger of extinction has lessened.