Malmesbury Pincushion Malmesburyluisie - Leucospermum parile
The Malmesbury Pincushion occurs from Paardeberg to Mamre. It occurs nowhere else in the world. Some 96% of the remaining populations of this species are threatened by alien invaders - mainly the Port Jackson Willow. Half the known populations are also threatened by agriculture - mainly vineyards and pasture. Flowering occurs from August to December. The white seed ("Leuco" = white, spermum = "seed") is covered by a fleshy "ant-fruit". After carrying the fruit into their nests, the ants eat the ant-fruit, leaving behind a hard black nut, which the ants cannot carry. The seeds thus lie in the nests, safe from rodents and fire. After a fire the seeds detect that conditions are suitable for germination by the sun baking the soil during the day, and the cold nights. (In mature vegetation the plants form a blanket and prevent the soil temperature from fluctuating). We need to look after our natural heritage - the plants and animals in our area, are dependent on us to look after them!