26 September 2023

Endangered lily discovered by drones

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The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s (DPIE) Saving our Species program has uncovered a population of extremely rare plants in New England National Park, the find promising to save the silver sword lilies from imminent extinction.

Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean said the silver sword lily was a very rare and highly distinctive plant, so finding a new population in a new location was very exciting.

“The discovery of a new population of 200 plants increases the known population of this plant species in NSW by 30 per cent,” Mr Kean said.

“The Saving our Species team has gone above and beyond, quite literally, using drones and abseiling surveys to locate threatened plants,” he said.

“The new method of surveying was not only successful in finding new plants, but will also help us monitor them.”

Mr Kean said silver sword lilies preferred to grow in water seepages on cliffs near waterfalls, a potentially dangerous terrain to access on foot, which is why drones were increasingly being used to carry out surveys.

He said that under the Saving our Species program, a conservation project was in place to better understand, manage and monitor the threats facing this plant species.

“Silver sword lily is a large tufted, soft-stemmed, lily-like herb with long narrow leaves and white flowers,” the Minister said.

“The flowers appear during November and December,” he said.

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