Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
Scientific name Leucopogon exolasius [14251]
Family Epacridaceae:Ericales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (F.Muell.) Benth.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Flora Australiensis 4 (16 Dec. 1868) 217.
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific Name: Leucopogon exolasius

Common name: Woronora Beard-heath

The Woronora Beard-heath is an erect shrub growing to 1 m in height, with hairy branchlets and sharp-pointed leaves. These leaves grow about 5–15 mm long and 1–2.5 mm wide, with striated lower surfaces and convex upper sufaces. They can be oblong-linear or elliptic with margins recurved or revolute. The flowers are white and tubular growing to approximately 5 mm in length and grow in spikes (around three to a stalk) in the angles where leaves meet the stems. The flowers occur in August and have furry throats and hairs on the outside of the tube. The fruit is about 4.4–4.8 mm in length, glabrous and finely ribbed (Harden 1992; Powell 2010; TSSC 2008em).

The Woronora Beard-heath is restricted to Woronora and Grose Rivers (in the Blue Mountains), Stokes Creek and Georges River. It is found in the Holsworthy Military Reserve and in Heathcote and Royal National Parks (Commonwealth land). The species is endemic to the Sydney region and central coast of New South Wales (NSW) occurring within the Sydney Metro and Hawkesbury-Nepean Natural Resource Management Regions (Briggs & Leigh 1996; Fairley & Moore 2000; French et al. 2000; Harden 1992; Powell 2010; Raszewski 1999; TSSC 2008em).

The Woronora Beard-heath is only found in seven known locations. This fragmented distribution is most likely due to habitat loss and degradation that historically led to isolated subpopulations that were incapable of interbreeding. It is known that the species' natural typical abundance is quite rare which increases the importance of the known populations (Powell 2010; TSSC 2008em).

The Woronora Beard-heath inhabits woodland on sandstone (and sandy alluvium) and prefers rocky hillsides along creek banks. The species occupies areas with low nutrient soils, up to an altitude of 100 m above sea level and between 1000–1400 mm rainfall. It is found in association with Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita), Silvertop Ash (E. sieberi) and shrubs including the Graceful Bush Pea (Pultenaea flexilis), Flaky-barked Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium) and Eggs and Bacon Pea (Dillwynia retorta) (Fairley & Moore 2000; Harden 1992; Powell 2010; TSSC 2008em).

The distribution of this species overlaps with that of the 'Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest' EPBC Act-listed threatened ecological community (TSSC 2008em).

The species flowers in August (and has been known to extend to September) and its fruit matures in October. Germination of dormant seeds occurs via seasonal changes rather than fire, but fire may enhance the process once begun (Powell 2010).

Stochastic Events

The small range, highly fragmented distribution and naturally rare abundance of the Woronora Beard-heath means that it is susceptible to low fitness due to low genetic variability and gene flow. As a result, the species is susceptible to diseases and stochastic events (for example environmental changes). In the future this could lead to local and broad scale extinction (TSSC 2008em).

Habitat loss (due to disturbance and modification)

Two of the known Woronora Beard-heath sites occur on land within the reserve system, and one is in a Military Reserve. For the remaining populations, however, development and conversion of land into pasture may affect overall viability. Currently, it is unknown how this threat is affecting the population. However, the threat could lead to local extinction at unprotected sites (TSSC 2008em).

Weed invasion

Invasion by weeds would be devastating to all populations due to their low genetic variability and isolation. Currently, this threat is merely assumed due to the fact that there are invasive weeds in the area and these would affect the ability of the species to gain space and nutrients. In the future, the threat could cause local extinction and depending on the scope of the weed, perhaps the ecological extinction of the species (TSSC 2008em).


As with all rare Australian plants, fire is a possible threat to the Woronora Beard-heath. If a fire were widespread enough to affect all populations, it would be devastating as any loss to the genetic diversity of the species would be detrimental to its survival. With current fire management practices carried out in most sites, it is unlikely that a wildfire would destroy the species (TSSC 2008em).

There are existing fire management strategies in place in Georges River, Royal and Heathcote National Parks and the Military Reserve where the Woronora Beard-heath is known to occur (TSSC 2008em).

In addition, the following are the future mitigation measures that have been identified for the species (TSSC 2008em):

  • Increase research into the species- including a monitoring program, biological and ecological studies of the species, survey work, a fire regime study and assessment of the size, distribution, ecological requirements of the species and the relative impact of the threats hypothesized
  • Locate high conservation priority populations, manage threats to areas containing the species, ensure chemicals used will not harm the species, control access routes to constrain public and minimize impacts of changes land use at known sites
  • Develop suitable fire management strategy for the species, using Hazard Reduction Techniques that will not affect its habitat and seek inclusion of known sites in mitigative measures in bush fire risk management plans, risk register and/or operative maps
  • Identify and remove weeds and continue monitoring the sites for weed effects
  • Undertake seed collection and storage, investigate linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations and implement national translocation protocols if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible.

Fire responses of the Woronora Beard-heath were researched in a Thesis conducted in 2002 by Mark Ooi of the University of Wollongong (Ooi 2002).

Management documents for the Woronora Beard-heath can be found at the start of this profile. Other management documents relevent to the species include:

  • Georges River National Park Fire Management Strategy and Plan of Management (DECC 2009).
  • Fire Management Plan for Royal, Heathcote National Parks and Garawarra State Conservation Area (NSW NPWS 2003).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Decline in habitat quality Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008em) [Conservation Advice].

Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh (1996). Rare or Threatened Australian Plants - Revised Edition. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) (2009). Georges River National Park Fire Management Strategy and Plan of Management . [Online]. Available from:

Fairley, A. & P. Moore (2000). Native Plants of the Sydney District, An Identification Guide. Roseville, NSW; Kangaroo Press.

French, K., B. Pellow & M. Henderson (2000). Vegetation of the Holsworthy Military Area. Cunninghamia. 6(4):893-939.

Harden, G.J. (Ed.) (1992). Flora of New South Wales Volume 3. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2003). Fire Management Plan for Royal, Heathcote National Parks and Garawarra State Conservation Area. [Online]. Available from:

Ooi, M. (2002). Fire response and seedling emergence patterns of Leucopogon (Epacridaceae) in South-Eastern Australia. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Wollongong Thesis Collection.

Powell, J.M. (2010). 'Leucopogon exolasius'. [Online]. New South Wales Flora Online. Available from:

Raszewski, C. (1999). History of Holsworthy - Environmental Heritage. [Online]. Liverpool: Liverpool City Council. Available from:

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008em). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Leucopogon exolasius. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Leucopogon exolasius in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:42:33 +1000.