They said it was impossible. 'Good luck', they said. 'Best of British luck.' But we pressed on.
Our plan was to search for a Fairy Lantern Thismia rodwayi in the wet forests of Great Otway National Park. Rosalind reasoned that because it grows in Tasmania and eastern Victoria it was a possibility that it would also be present in the Otways, given that Victoria and Tasmania were connected by a land bridge only 15 000 years ago. So she organised a bunch of us to go down there last weekend. It's a very big park but the search technique for this plant is to each take a one-square metre quadrat (that's one square metre!), carefully lift of the mulch and look underneath for this tiny plant. It might be red, but it's only a centimetre of two high. If no Thismia was present we moved on to another quadrat.
At our second site we were successful. It's a beautiful and unusual plant, aptly named Fairy Lantern. We found eleven plants in all, over two days. Naturally we were very excited. It was all good fun.
The first image is of an immature plant, the second is mature.