Threatened species are organisms that are organisms deemed by law to be at risk of becoming extinct. There is a 'threatened species section' as part of the Department of Primary Industry, Environment and Water in Tasmania. It is designated to document and plan the management to help protect them and even potenitally breeding them in captivity - such as the Tasmanian Devil and Orange-bellied Parrot. They also relate to plants, but are not so understood in the general public.

A cool find today was a small (15cm tall) purple flowering plant on the coastal wet heath land near the northern coastal border of the property. Its name is Comesperma (GENUS) defoliatum (SPECIES) F. Muell (AUTHORITY). I was unfamiliar that scientific names should contain three parts - the authority is often the part that is left off! The authority is awarded to the first person to have described it, so it is important that they get acknowledged.

Once it was found, we dug a section of its roots and placed it into a flat plastic tray with wet paper towel. This prevented it from dehydrating the sample. Upon return to the lab we looked at the specimen and 'keyed' it out, using the Flora of Tasmania Online website and by looking at it under the microscope. This last step was needed to clarify one of the steps in the key where we had to look at the length of the SEPALS, the outer parts to the flower.

The exciting find means that it is the first time it has been found in the NE of Tasmania. There have only been 11 sightings in Tasmania with the first one being in 1980. It is nice to know that this find will add to the current knowledge about this little beauty, and potentially support its protection.