Red Hot List Flagship 2: Desert spring plants

Date: 30, Nov, 2016
Author(s):   Jennifer Silcock
Publisher: Wildlife Australia

Water springs have been revered and celebrated in all cultures over thousands of years, through offerings and sacrifices, rituals and mythologies. Springs assume special significance in drylands for being essential to life and for their contrast with the surrounding desert. As permanent, stable wetlands in inhospitable landscapes, they often give rise to a dazzling diversity of specialised endemic species – plants, fish and invertebrates (particularly snails), many as yet unknown to science – which are stranded in their tiny pools. Since the Industrial era the focus on springs and aquifers has often shifted to exploitation, with disastrous consequences for these precious oases and their inhabitants.