Biology

Carmichaelia muritai flowers irregularly, with sporadic seed production.

There are few juveniles in the single natural population of Carmichaelia muritai and limited numbers of slow growing seedlings. But failure in seed production or germination is not the major constraint to regeneration (Williams, Norton and Nicholas, 1996). Factors that limit availability of suitable establishment sites are considered the controlling factors. These include:

  • grazing
  • competition
  • erosion

Fencing to prevent destructive rabbit and sheep grazing has allowed the under-storey vegetation - primarily introduced coarse grasses - to dominate, out-competing the slow-growing juveniles and covering the bare ground necessary for seedling recruitment.

Cultivation

Propagation is by seed.

The seeds show dormancy induced by a water-impermeable testa and respond rapidly to scarification.

Germination is rapid at 20–24°C, and delayed down to 10°C. Soil conditions in the wild are therefore likely to be suitable for germination from October to April.

Many seeds germinate the year they fall - about 1 in 20 remains viable in the soil for up to 2 years.

Seedling growth is slow - they grow approximately 2cm in their first year and to approximately 12cm after 2 years.

Plants cultivated in the UK typically reach maturity and flower after 10–12 years.

They resent disturbance and do not transplant well.

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