A rose by any other name
The Rose Mallee (Eucalyptus rhodantha) was described from material collected near Gunyidi by Henry Steedman in 1934. The Rose Mallee is a low spreading mallee that grows up to four metres high with smooth greyish brown stems and bluish green branches. The flowers are large, growing up to 7.5 centimetres across and are bright red to pink in colour.
The flowers are pollinated by several species of birds and small mammals including the White-fronted Honeyeater (Phildonyris albifrons) and the Honey Possum (Tarsipes rostratus). The fruit of the Rose Mallee is woody and contains dark brown winged seeds. The Rose Mallee flowers from March to November each year.
The Rose Mallee is known from fewer than 400 individual plants near Three Springs, and Watheroo in the northern wheatbelt of Western Australia.
Threats to the Rose Mallee include land clearing and the drift from herbicides and pesticides sprays. The Rose Mallee is also threatened by the Root-rot Fungus (Phytophthora cinnimonii), a fungal disease that causes its roots to rot. Other threats include weed infestation, commercial seed collection, and predation by feral rabbits.
Listing under the Commonwealth's Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 required that a recovery plan be prepared for the Rose Mallee. The plan was prepared by the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management, and published in 1990, and is being implemented by an expert recovery team. The recovery team is working to ensure that the Rose Mallee's survival in the wild is maintained by protecting existing populations in conservation reserves and promoting rehabilitation of the sites were Rose Mallee is found.
This will be done by:
- purchasing land for conservation reserves;
- protecting plants by fencing the populations off from feral rabbits and stock;
- ex situ cultivation; and
- population monitoring, reporting and research.
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of the Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772