Biodiversity

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 for Thesium australe (Austral Toadflax) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2013fw) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the 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 Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Austral Toadflax - profile (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH), 2013l) [Internet].
TAS:Threatened Species Notesheet - Thesium australe (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (Tas. DPIWE), 2003b) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Thesium australe (Austral Toadflax, Toadflax): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014fb) [State Action Plan].
VIC:Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 56-Austral Toad Flax Thesium australe (Scarlett, N.H., M. Branwell & G. Earl, 2003) [State Action Plan].
Non-government
    Documents and Websites
Biodiversity Recovery Plan for Gatton and Laidley Shires, South-East Queensland 2003-2008 (Boyes, B., 2004).
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
TAS: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Vulnerable (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Thesium australe [15202]
Family Santalaceae:Santalales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author R.Br.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae (27 Mar. 1810) 353.
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

Austral Toadflax is a hairless, yellowish-green perennial herb with slender, wiry stems to 40 cm high and tiny, white flowers (George 1984; Harden 1992).

Austral Toadflax occurs in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Victoria (Scarlett et al. 2003; NSW OEH 2013). It is also known from eastern Asia (e.g. China) (Zhang & Qiu 1999). Its current distribution is sporadic but widespread, occurring between the Bunya Mountains in south-east Queensland to north-east Victoria (Scarlett et al. 2003) and as far inland as the southern, central and northern tablelands in New South Wales and the Toowoomba region (ALA 2013). There is an outlier in Carnarvon National Park on the Consuelo Tableland of the southern Brigalow Belt (ALA 2013). It had been recorded once in Tasmania from the Derwent River valley in 1804, but is considered extinct in the state (Tas. DPIWE 2003). Many other previously known sites do not have recent records (ALA 2013; Leigh et al. 1984).

Austral Toadflax is an inconspicuous plant (George 1984) and is often overlooked (Victorian Workshop 2000 pers. comm.). With survey training, collections increased substantially in northern New South Wales (Copeland 2000 pers. comm.). One expert suggested that there could be hundreds of thousands to a million across Australia (Thiele 2000 pers. comm.).

Queensland

Austral Toadflax was considered extinct in Queensland prior to the mid-1980s (Griffith 1996). Collections since the 1990s have been made from Kumbia, Glen Rock Regional Park, Carnarvon National Park, Crows Nest, Clifton, Warwick, Greenmount, Cambooya, Dalby, the Bunya Mountains, Blackbutt and Imbil (ALA 2013). In the 1990s, the species was described as common at a site at Clifton and rare at sites at Mt Moffatt National Park, Bunya Mountains and Blackbutt (ALA 2013).

New South Wales

In New South Wales, Austral Toadflax occurs on the coast, tablelands and western slopes (NSW NPWS 2003m). The Atlas of Living Australia (2013) indicates that there were 255 Austral Toadflax herbarium collections between 1990 and 2013 in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Over 200 of these were in the Nandewar, New England Tablelands and NSW North Coast Bioregions. In northern New South Wales, survey training lead to a significant increase in the discovery of new sites (Copeland 2000 pers. comm.).

Sites include Perpendicular Point in Kattang Nature Reserve (1 plant per 1 m²); Look at Me Now Headland at Moonee Creek Nature Reserve (1 plant per 1 m²); Old Bar Park (Taree, 1 plant per 100 m²) (Cohn 2004); Yetman-Wallangra; Linton Nature Reserve; Boambee Head (50–100 plants); Hat Head National Park; Blackville; Bibbenluke; Cabramurra (locally frequent); and Yarrangobilly Caves (ALA 2013).

Australian Capital Territory

Austral Toadflax has been recorded in the Australian Capital Territory at Kambah Pool (open woodland with grassy understorey, 200 plants) (ALA 2013).

Victoria

In Victoria, Austral Toadflax was previously known from Wando Vale (north-east of Casterton), the upper Goulburn River catchment, the Ovens River catchment and the Murray River catchment, but is now only known from Gippsland (Scarlett et al. 2003). Between 1979 and 2003, the Austral Toadflax was recorded at five sites with an abundance of 50 to 2000+ plants over an area of 0.08 ha to 24 ha (Scarlett et al. 2003). The species has also been reintroduced reasonably successfully to Lake Omeo in Victoria in 1984, with ongoing seedling planting and seed broadcasting (Scarlett et al. 1994). More recently, the species has been recorded from Suggan Buggan and Green Hills Nature Conservation Reserve (ALA 2013) and Benanmbra (Carr 2000 pers. comm.).

Austral Toadflax has been recorded from a number of conservation reserves, including Kosciuszko, Namadgi, Crowdy Bay, Hat Head and Kwiambal National Parks (Briggs & Leigh 1996; Hunter et al. 1999).

Austral Toadflax is semi-parasitic on roots of a range of grass species (Copeland 2000 pers. comm.; Leigh et al. 1984), notably Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) (Scarlett et al. 1994). It occurs in subtropical, temperate and subalpine climates over a wide range of altitudes. It occurs on soils derived from sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic geology on a range of soils including black clay loams to yellow podzolics and peaty loams (Leigh et al. 1984; Hunter et al. 1999; Cohn 2004).

It occurs in shrubland, grassland or woodland, often on damp sites (George 1984; Harden 1992). Vegetation types include open grassy heath dominated by Swamp Myrtle (Leptospermum myrtifolium), Small-fruit Hakea (Hakea microcarpa), Alpine Bottlebrush (Callistemon sieberi), Woolly Grevillea (Grevillea lanigera), Coral Heath (Epacris microphylla) and Poa spp. (Griffith 1991); Kangaroo Grass grassland surrounded by Eucalyptus woodland; and grassland dominated by Barbed-wire Grass (Cymbopogon refractus) (Leigh et al. 1984; Hunter et al. 1999). At a NSW coastal site, associated plants included Coastal Wattle (Acacia sophorae), Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia), Zieria prostrata and Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) (Cohn 2004).

Austral Toadflax flowers and fruits throughout the year on the coast (Cohn 2004), and during summer at higher altitudes (Griffith 1996). In subalpine and tableland climates, the species dies back to rootstock during winter and resprouts in spring. In coastal areas the species persists all year round and may live for longer than two years (Cohn 2004).

The species appears to cope well with but does not require frequent disturbance. The existence of buds near the soil surface allows the species to resprout after disturbance. It is observed to germinate well after fire; however fire is not essential for germination (Scarlett et al. 1994). For example, it was present at Hat Head National Park after being burnt every 2 to 4 years for 15 years, but the species persists at Perpendicular Point 20 years after fire (Cohn 2004). In more protected settings, active management may be required to reduce competition from Kangaroo Grass but on exposed headlands, the species persists in the absence of any such management.

The main identified threats to the Austral Toadflax are:

  • lack of fire/disturbance (Cohn 2004)
  • existing and intensified grazing by livestock, native herbivores and feral herbivores (Scarlett et al. 2003)
  • residential, infrastructure and agricultural development (NSW OEH 2013)
  • weed invasion (e.g. blackberry (Rubus spp.)) (NSW OEH 2013; Scarlett et al. 2003)
  • infrastructure (road and rail) maintenance, particularly road widening and re-routing (NSW OEH 2013).

Lack of disturbance causes lower, mid and upper stratum canopy thickening (Scarlett et al. 2003; Cohn 2004), which reduces species diversity in the lower stratum. The species has been observed to germinate in lightly grazed country and after drought (Scarlett et al. 2003), and minor levels of disturbance may be beneficial (NSW NPWS 2003m). However, heavy grazing/disturbance is known to be detrimental. Historic declines are likely due to clearing, heavy grazing and cultivation of grasslands and grassy woodlands throughout its range.

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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Thesium australe. Species Recovery Plan (Griffith, S.J., 1996) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bitou Bush, Boneseed) Weeds of National Significance Bitou Bush and Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata and monilifera) Strategic Plan (Agriculture & Resources Management Council of Australia & New Zealand, Australian & New Zealand Environment & Conservation Council and Forestry Ministers, 2000b) [Threat Abatement Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Ovis aries (Sheep) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Equus caballus (Horse) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Bos taurus (Domestic Cattle) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by kangaroos and wallabies Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Transportation and Service Corridors:Road and rail maintenance works Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vu) [Internet].

Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (2013). Atlas of Living Australia. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ala.org.au/.

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

Carr, G.W. (2000). Personal Communication. Melbourne: Vic NRE.

Cohn, J.S. (2004). Effects of slashing and burning on Thesium australe R. Brown (Santalaceae) in coastal grasslands of NSW. Proc. Linn. Soc. NSW. 125:57-65. Linnean Society of NSW, Kingsford, NSW.

Copeland, L. (2000). Personal Communication.

George, A.S. (1984). Thesium. In: Flora of Australia. 22:67. Canberra: AGPS.

Griffith, S.J. (1991). The Biology and Management of Austral Toadflax (Thesium australe) in Nsw South Wales. Hurstville: NSW NPWS.

Griffith, S.J. (1996). Thesium australe. Species Recovery Plan. Hurstville: NSW NPWS.

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

Hunter, J.T., J. Kingston & P. Croft (1999). Vegetation and floristics of Kwiambal National Park and surrounds, Ashford, New South Wales. Cunninghamia. 6(2):351-78.

Leigh, J., R. Boden & J. Briggs (1984). Extinct and Endangered Plants of Australia. Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan.

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2003m). Threatened Species of the New England Tablelands and North West Slopes of New South Wales. Page(s) 163 pp. Coffs Harbour: NSW NPWS & Armidale: University of New England.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) (2013l). Austral Toadflax - profile. [Online]. Available from: http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10802.

Scarlett, N.H., M. Branwell & G. Earl (1994). Action Statement No. 56 Austral Toad-flax Thesium australe. [Online]. Melbourne: Dept. Natural Resources & Environment. Available from: http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/web/root/domino/cm_da/nrenpa.nsf/frameset/NRE+Plants+and+Animals?OpenDocument.

Scarlett, N.H., M. Branwell & G. Earl (2003). Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 56-Austral Toad Flax Thesium australe. [Online]. Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE). Available from: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/plants-and-animals/flora-and-fauna-guarantee-act-action-statements-index-of-approved-action-statements.

Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (Tas. DPIWE) (2003b). Threatened Species Notesheet - Thesium australe. [Online]. Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/LJEM-76QV5J/$FILE/Thesium%20australe.pdf.

Thiele, K. (2000). Personal Communication.

Victorian Workshop Participants (2000). Personal communication.

Zhang, H.-t. & H.-x. Qiu (1999). Noteworthy taxa from China. Guihaia. 3.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Thesium australe in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:45:56 +1000.