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Native Wintercress

Current Status

[Photo of native wintercress by L. Gilfedder.]

This small herb is listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and as critically endangered under the Federal Act.

Why is it endangered?

It is endangered because it is a rare endemic plant of Tasmania that mostly occurs on private or unreserved land. It is at risk from such things as grazing, fire and trampling. Grazing is a particular threat because this plant is so palatable that many species prefer to eat it. Native wintercress (Barbarea australis) belongs to the family Brassicaceae which includes such plants as cauliflowers, brussel sprouts and cress.

It was first recorded in the 19th century from northern Tasmania by J. D. Hooker. For a long time there were no further records of this shortlived herb but then in 1986 it was rediscovered at Waddamana. It has now been recorded from a number of rivers, including the Ouse, Shannon and Clyde rivers. Plants can grow up to 1m tall.

What is being done?

An important part of this species' protection is to educate people about such plants. To an untrained eye it could be easily overlooked or even seen as a weed! Little is yet known of its ecology. Various Tasmanian schools have been involved in propagating this plant.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading

Kirkpatrick J., L. Gilfedder and R. Hale 1988. City Parks and Cemeteries. Tasmanian Conservation Trust.