Seed Collection for germination testing

The Emerald Star Bush grows well from cuttings, but so far, no one has cracked the secret of making the seeds germinate. Seed is currently being collected from a number of locations, with which an number of germination tests will be conducted. What we know is that the Star Bush is often found on steep slopes, and it is speculated that the flow of groundwater may be instrumental in getting the seeds to sprout. Fire or the lack of it may also be a factor, as may the Ph of the soil.

Assistance and advice from the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater (HeHo) Nursery

Recently, two of our field workers visited the HeHo nursery in Yellingbo to consult with them about Star Bush propagation. HeHo are currently our main source of seedlings and have been extremely helpful, instructing us on the best methods for taking and propagating cuttings, which media to grow them in and the best timing for striking and transplanting. Our heartfelt thanks to Michelle and the HeHo team.

Greater Information sharing with VicRoads

Some Star Bushes were regrettably destroyed as a consequence of the recent installation of crash barriers on the Belgrave-Gembrook road. Sometimes this cannot be avoided if works are being undertaken to make our roads safer, but following contact from one of our volunteer field workers, VicRoads have expressed a willingness to liaise more closely with the Star Bush Partnership and Cardinia Shire Council about future works to minimise impact on roadside plants.

Roadside staking and weed removal

Currently, the roadside populations that were marked with pink tag tape in the Spring are being staked to protect them from mowing. The stakes are blue and between 30-45cm high. If you see one, there will be a Star Bush growing next to it so take care when weeding or mowing your verge!

At the same time as the Star Bushes were surveyed, environmental weeds were also surveyed and documented, and Council contractors will proceed to remove weeds in Star Bush habitat in the coming weeks and months.

Survey and Documentation

During September, October and November, our field-work volunteers conducted surveys of Star Bush populations throughout Emerald and surrounding areas. Sadly, some roadside populations that were documented in 2008 have been lost. On a more positive note, due to residents making contact with us at Emerald market, we were able to identify and document significant colonies on private land which were previously unknown. Due to the generosity of these residents, we now have access to cutting material, which will help us preserve and restore populations on public land.

Following the Star Bush surveys discussed above, Cardinia Shire Council has been contacting residents, offering advice and distributing showbags containing information and Star Bush goodies produced by the Emerald Star Bush Partnership such as stickers, bookmarks and coasters.

If you think you might have Star Bushes on your land and would like to have them properly identified, please email us on info@emeraldstarbush.com. Please note that heavy fines apply for destroying Star Bushes, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Would you like a Star Bush for your garden?

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater nursery are currently growing stock for local residents to plant in their gardens. All going well, plants will be available in Autumn and will cost $5 each. All proceeds will go to preservation of the Star Bush. We will announce here when the plants are ready for those of you who wish to purchase one and they may also be available at the Emerald Market.

Star Bushes distributed to Community Groups

Over Spring, we were pleased to distribute Star Bushes to a number of local community groups to plant on their grounds. Recipients included Emerald Community House, Emerald Museum, Emerald Arts Society and Emerald Lake Park. As more bushes become available, we plan to distribute them to the RSL, Emerald Primary School and the Fire Station.