OPEC Systems protects a rare plant species not seen alive for almost two centuries

OPEC Systems was engaged to do remediation work at the proposed development site for the SIMTA Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Facility on Sydney’s south-west fringe. Whilst there we were extremely careful to protect the delicate flora and, as it later transpired, were actually protecting a plant not seen alive for almost two centuries.

The hibbertia fumana species was found at the Moorebank site. The search found 370 individuals of the hibbertia fumana on the seven-hectare site, formerly owned by the military and largely untouched. The plant was thought to be extinct and was last documented in 1823. It was only named in 2012 as a separate species from pressed specimens held in overseas vaults.

The ‘once-in-a-lifetime find’ has excited scientists and botanists after uncovering 370 individual specimens. 

“Finding a species thought to be extinct is not something many scientists get to do in a lifetime, so this is an exciting discovery for everyone involved,” said Jane Rodd, a senior ecologist with Arcadis, the consultancy hired to do the search.

Photo: Via Nature Conservation Council