Garden

Rare native violet found in Tasmania for the first time

What a find.

An avid hiker and plant lover has made an exciting discovery while bushwalking in Tasmania.

Juliette Gaynor-Brown, exploring Ben Lomond National Park with friends, stumbled upon an endangered violet species not previously documented in Tasmania.

Juliette told the ABC, “I knew it was violet, but I didn’t know what species it was,” she said.

Juliette took a photo and uploaded it to the citizen scientist platform iNaturalist.The response was swift, with experts, including the senior curator of botany at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Miguel de Salas, expressing keen interest.

Hiker finds dwarf violet

Upon closer examination, it was identified as a dwarf violet, specifically Viola improcera.

Dr. de Salas said the find is “a pretty exciting discovery” and emphasised the importance of discovering the dwarf violet in a new location.

The dwarf violet will now be included in the state’s list of threatened species, and national data will be updated to acknowledge its presence in Tasmania. This newfound inclusion, especially considering its endangered status, is a positive development for the plant’s conservation efforts.

Dr. de Salas highlighted the significance of sharing this discovery, not only for its scientific value but also as a celebration of a beautiful new plant contributing to the rich biodiversity of Tasmania.

What is a dwarf violet?

The dwarf violet (Viola improcera) is a rare perennial herb that grows to around 2 cm tall and is typically characterised by small but vibrant blooms. The flowers have five pale blue-violet petals, which flower in December. 

Dwarf violets thrive in elevated regions within open shrubland. These plants are commonly spotted in open spaces, either directly on or near mountain summits and upper slopes with rocky soil and are seen along tracks. 

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Lead image credit: iNaturalist/@mftasp/Creative Commons

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