A rare plant species that has gone undetected for over 180 years has been found by researchers in Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
Uncovered in bushland in the heart of the city, the small plant appears to be totally new to science. Research Scientist Dr Russell Barrett made the significant discovery while photographing other native plants.
Botanists have been collecting plants in Kings Park since the first European explorers travelled up the river in 1697. At only 3 cm high, it is easy to understand how this rare species has been overlooked in the past.
Finding a new species in Kings Park highlights the incredible natural diversity of the Swan Coastal Plain on which Perth is built. The find is remarkable, both for the discovery in a well-known area of bushland, and for the fact that Kings Park is in the middle of the city.'
A scientific paper submitted to the Western Australian Herbarium journal Nuytsia formally describes the new species as Poranthera moorokatta. Dr Barrett is delighted with the name of his find, citing its reference to Indigenous heritage and connections to Kings Park.
'It has been proposed to name the new species after the local Nyoongar name for Mount Eliza (Kings Park), Mooro Katta, which means ‘home hill’ and honours the long tradition of Kings Park as a special place for the Nyoongar people.'
The new species is currently listed as Conservation Priority Two by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) but may be upgraded to a Threatened status following further research.
The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority will continue to work with DEC to develop a management plan for the new species.