For several years the Flora and Fauna Society offered a reward for collection of stems of the introduced Formosan Lily. These lilies are a very invasive weed and in some places, infestations have totally precluded any native species from continuing to thrive in their native habitat. They will grow in sun and shade, in wet and dry conditions, and on flat land, slopes and steep cliffs.
Windy conditions are perfect for the ripened seed pods to disperse their thousands of seeds.
A number of parents have expressed concern at the number of lilies, making it easy for their little collectors to see the purpose and so to get great results. We hope this results in a better understanding as to why this problem needs to be tackled soon in a strategic manner across the Island. If we allow all the soil and water, sun and shade to be used by white lilies that don’t belong here, we are denying the natives the ability to survive in the only place they know, and belong.
Members understand that we are not removing the problem, but are simply reducing the size of the population, which has the potential to expand exponentially if left unchecked.
If we are to preserve the island’s all-important native plants we need to make sure they have some space to grow. Without the native plants, we could lose our native insects and our unique bird species and the wonderful experiences we all enjoy through being in our precious environment.
Corms of Formosan Lily
We have had fantastic results from our collectors in the three years 2017-2019. The project offered a bounty for Formosan Lilies collected in bundles of 50. Bounty 10c per stem + prizes of $100, $50 and $75 for the most stems collected.
In the summer season 2016-2017, a total of 257 bundles @ 50 stems bringing to a total of 12,850 plants were collected. With only a single flower per plant this has prevented the spreading of notionally at least 15,420,000 new plants. With some plants having been seen to have 12 flowers the potential increases to 805,040,000! Thanks so much to the collectors and their support teams for participating in this important project.
There was again a fantastic response in the 2018 Great Lily Hunt, resulting in the prevention of a possible 383+ million seeds germinating to make new plants. Due to the wet weather conditions at the time of the collection, some participants were also able to easily remove the bulbs along with the stems, making it a wonderful bonus number of possible future plants now not in the landscape.
In 2019 Society representatives, Liz Nobbs-Hewson and Bev Buffett presented certificates and cheques to students who participated in the Hunt. Total prize money was $4362.50, made up of a Community Grant from Norfolk Island Regional Council of $2500 with the balance of $1862.50 funded by Norfolk Island Flora & Fauna Society. Over 40,000 Formosan Lily plants were collected, preventing at least 86 million new plants being produced. Another fantastic effort!
In 2020 $5715 was paid in prizes. The Society thanks Norfolk Island Rotary and Foodlands for $2500 each in sponsorship.
Seeds of Formosan Lily
In 2021 the Society decided to review the project seek to have it mainstreamed into the official work program of the Council.