This is a truly epic find. Astounding to realise this giant is actually a 'Daisy', the Musk Daisy Bush - Oleria argophylla in the ASTERACEAE family - the daisies, a long lived understory plant able to live to a great age in 'Wet Forest', they can achieve this by surviving wildfires with a huge lignotuberous base which can be hidden underneath and insulated by soil. Effectively a mallee like trait - hence its kinda like a multi stemmed mallee tree but oddly living in the Wet Forest EVC (Ecological Vegetation Class). A mallee clothed in epiphytic rainforest ferns and moss - well sort of :-))
Those huge stems pose the idea that this plant survived an epic wildfire more than a century ago, particularly the middle stem. Research from Steve Mueck from the Arthur Rylah Institute into the age of Wet Forest understory plants found that plants like Musk Daisy and Tree ferns are able to live to 400 years of age, hence there can be 'Old Growth' elements under Black Friday 1939 regrowth Mountain Ash.
There is only 1% of 'Old Growth' Wet Forest remaining - this is the sort of wonder that can be found within these small patches across the Central Highlands of Victoria, or indeed underneath 1939 regrowth.
Black Saturday fire of 2009 and musk daisy regrowth
Following the Black Saturday fire of 2009 Musk Daisy plants have shown just how resilient they are with profuse resprouting, in some cases one can count 200 stems shooting up from the base of the lignotuberous root like the following photos show from April 2013. A biodiverse forest is able to deal with disturbance, long lived plants like Musk Daisy and Treeferns resprout and protect fragile soils following wildfire from heavy postfire rainfall, and with their shade hold in valuable moisture for the nursery of plants returning.
Flowering now in november
Don Butcher is passionate about connecting people to the natural world by facilitating nature observation, and the use of storytelling. Australian landscapes are thick with stories.