Pioneer Park Grassland

A small species-rich grassland reserve in two parts on land that was once police stables, with many native wildflowers and grasses on a stony rise. New fencing and signage, and the location for some Spiny Rice-flower and Button Wrinklewort translocations. Also has a themed nature play playground.

Main photo: Seeing is believing
2: A paddock associated with former police stables
3: Bricks mark translocation into this significant grassland
4: Dense Kangaroo Grass patch
5: Flowering herbs thrive between the grasses

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Manager: Brimbank City Council
Notes: The grassland exists in two main fenced areas surrounded by a mown parkland which includes native trees, interactive sculptures, and a playground. Some areas of grassland spill outside the fences, and even some of the mown areas still include many grassland species if you look carefully. Colonial dry stone walls, fallen down and then partially rebuilt, are present through the central area near Manchester Drive. Native trees including River Redgum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) occur within the grasslands, especially the eastern section, while Sugar Gums (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) are common, mostly outside the fenced grasslands. The two grassland sections rise up toward two artificial mounds in the centre of the park (in the mown area). On the rise within the grassland there is a strong presence of basalt rocks at and near the surface. The eastern grassland includes an old quarry/rubbish pit which fills with water in wet seasons. Here the nature of the below-ground basalt boulders can be seen clearly at the western (uphill) side of the quarry, where the boulders have been exposed by erosion. The flatter (less rocky) western end of the grassland includes a great number of gilgais (small, naturally formed depressions in the ground surface) and is especially rich in soil crust bryophytes (liverworts and mosses).. The grassland is mostly dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), but significant areas are dominated by a diverse collection of spear grasses (Austrostipa species), especially where nearby trees keep the soil too dry for the Kangaroo Grass to thrive. Conservation management of this site has reintroduced large numbers of native wildflowers. Three endangered daisy species have been reintroduced: Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides), Basalt Podolepis (Podolepis linearifolia), and Large-headed Groundsel (Senecio macrocarpus). The first two now occupy significant patches in the western section of the grasslands, while Senecia macrocarpus pops up opportunistically all over. A small remnant population of critically endangered Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens) near the western boundary has been augmented with a number of plants translocated from a grassland at Watergardens that was to be cleared. Numerous other remnant and reintroduced native wildflowers can be found here and there throughout, including Asperula conferta, Caesia calliantha, Calocephalus citreus, Calotis scapigera, Chrysocephalum apiculatum, Eryngium ovinum, Glycine tabacina, Minuria leptophylla, Pelargonium rodneyanum, Tricoryne elatior.
Key features: ?''''' Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides) ?''''' Basalt Podolepis (Podolepis linearifolia) ?''''' Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens) ?''''' Grass enthusiasts will be impressed by the range of Austrostipa species present
Status: Extant
Address: 17 Manchester Dr, Sydenham VIC 3037, Australia
Area (ha): 3.224694249
Lattidude (decimal): -37.68741647
Longitude (decimal): 144.7593303
Contributors: BC
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