Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

16 Feb 2014 – Sweet Bursaria Seed Collection & Propagation Workshop

Posted on 31 January, 2014 by Connecting Country

Come and learn how to grow plants for an endangered butterfly!

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is an endangered species in Victoria – and Castlemaine is one of the few places they’re known to live. Join the McKenzies Hill Action & Landcare Group for a free workshop on collecting and propagating seeds of Sweet Bursaria – the butterfly’s only known food plant.

The workshop will take place near the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens between 9:30am to 11am on Sunday 16th February. Click here to download the flyer.

Eltham Copper Butterfly perched on flowering Sweet Bursaria. Phot: Elaine Bayes, Rakali Ecological Consulting.

Eltham Copper Butterfly perched on flowering Sweet Bursaria – it’s only know food plant. Photo: Elaine Bayes

Eltham Copper Butterfly’s have an amazing relationship with Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) and a genus of ants called Notoncus. Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the roots of Sweet Bursaria plants. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are guarded by the ants, which lead them to and from the ant colony to browse on the Sweet Bursaria leaves. In return, the ants feed on sugar secretions which are exuded from the caterpillars’ bodies. Without Sweet Bursaria and the Notoncus ants, the Eltham Copper Butterfly cannot complete its lifecycle.

It would be hard to create more Notoncus ant nests for them, but we can create more Sweet Bursaria plants

The first workshop will be led by experienced seed collector David Milsom. David will help us collect seed from Sweet Bursaria and explain some of the dos and don’ts of collecting native seed generally.

A second workshop led by Frances Cincotta from Newstead Natives will take place at the beginning of June. Frances will show us how to propagate the seeds we collected at the first workshop and keep them happy until they are big enough to plant out. She will also give advice on native plant propogation.

The first workshop is on Sunday 16th February from 9:30am – 11:00am. Meet at the middle car park (tearoom car park) of the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens. Bring sturdy footwear and gloves – it’s a spiny plant! Workshop will include morning tea.

Please RSVP to Jan Hall – or 5470 5556.

This workshop is supported by a grant from the Victorian Government’s Communities for Nature program.

4 responses to “16 Feb 2014 – Sweet Bursaria Seed Collection & Propagation Workshop”

  1. Helena Stockheim says:

    Not sure but I found one which closely resembles this butterfly in a thicket of Bursaria in wester Sydney today.

    • Asha says:

      Hi Helena, very interesting to hear. If you have museum nearby it might be worth reporting it to them for their records. They should also be able to tell you more about distribution of species in your local area. Hope this is helpful! Asha

  2. Ray says:

    Thankyou for info re Bursaria. Does the copper butterfly extend into Sthn NSW ?

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