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Until recently the endangered Bead Glasswort (Tecticornia flabelliformis) was poorly known. Found in naturally saline coastal and inland systems, it is only known in Victoria at the salt lakes around Natimuk and an isolated occurrence in the Mallee.
In 1999 there were four known sites within the Natimuk salt lakes. Ten years on, assessments showed that only two sites still contained the species. A further survey of the surrounding 15 salt lakes did not reveal any other locations.
In the past year, DSE staff and volunteers observed and surveyed the Bead Glasswort at the two remaining locations where populations exceed 4,000 at each site.
The Bead Glasswort differs from other glassworts in its preferred site, habit, colour and the time of year that it grows and flowers. The preferred growing area of each glasswort species depends on the level of fresh water the plants receive in winter, as well as the amount of salinity they can tolerate.
The Bead Glasswort occurs mostly in bands among other succulents in seasonally inundated depressions around the lakes or on the edges. It appears to go dormant over the winter months, shedding seed and succulent foliage. New shoots grow from late spring to early summer and flowering is usually between January and May.