Wurmbea dioica subsp. alba complex

Aim: Conservation Genomics
Project initiation: Aug 2020
Project lead: Rachel Binks | Dept of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) State Government of Western Australia

Project description:

Wurmbea dioica in the strict sense is an eastern Australian species with white flowers having conspicuous purple nectaries on the tepals. In Western Australia, plants are currently classified as W. dioica subsp. alba, with white flowers having white (rarely pink) nectaries. It is now thought that the WA plants are not part of W. dioica and include more than one taxon. Within Western Australia, there are four forms currently recognised, some of which are widespread and others that are restricted to vulnerable wetland communities and are of conservation concern.

In addition to variation in morphological traits, there are also dioecious and bisexual forms, which may be taxonomically meaningful. Genomic analysis will resolve the taxonomic and conservation status of these restricted forms, but also presents an opportunity to investigate the significance of reproductive variation between these forms, as well as the relationship to their eastern Australian counterpart.