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 Approved Conservation Advice for Aristida annua (a tufted grass) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014ah) [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 Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Scientific name Aristida annua [17906]
Family Poaceae:Cyperales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author B.Simon
Infraspecies author  
Reference Austrobaileya 2 (14 Jul. 1984) 87, fig. 1A.
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: Aristida annua

Aristida annua is conventionally accepted (CHAH 2010).

Aristida annua is an annual loosely tufted grass with a flowering stem growing to approximately 50 cm in height. It has smooth 25–50 cm long culms (stems) with culm-internodes that are distally glabrous. The species has sparse lateral branches and leaf-blades that have pubescent surfaces, are hairy adaxially and grow between 7–15 cm long and 1–1.5 mm wide. Panicle is open (10–20 cm long and 5–12 cm wide), elliptic and effuse. Spikelets are solitary (Simon 1992a).

Aristida annua is restricted to central Queensland in Emerald and Springsure districts (BRI collection records n.d.; Simon 1984, 1992b). The species is very poorly understood and there appears to be no survey data.

There is no information on the population size of Aristida annua and the species has not been researched.

There are no known Aristida annua populations within the reserve system. However, Albinia Downs National Park conserves 5300 ha of the Natural grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin ecological community, and Aristida annua is associated with this community (Qld DERM 2011). This park is adjacent to the Rolleston Coal Mine, which has also been identified as potential habitat for the species (EPBC Referral 2002).

Aristida annua occurs in eucalypt woodland (BRI collection records n.d.; Simon 1984, 1992b). It is restricted to black clay soils (Simon 1984), basalt soils and possibly disturbed sites (Lazarides 1999 pers. comm.). The species occurs in the Natural grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin ecological community, which is listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act (Qld DERM 2011).

The species flowers between March and June (BRI collection records).

Aristida annua is a distinctive species in that it is the only annual Aristida species with a convolute lemma and an open panicle (Simon 1992b).


Aristida annua is threatened by loss of grassland habitat due to clearing for agriculture and overgrazing (Fletcher 2001). Persistent heavy grazing has been identified as a threat to natural grasslands that the species occurs in (Qld DERM 2011). The impact of heavy grazing is greater in small paddocks and in paddocks that have mixed land use where the grasslands are a small part of the paddock (Qld DERM 2011).

Conversion of natural grassland to exotic pasture and the fodder tree Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) has occurred to varying degrees throughout the range of Aristida annua (Qld DERM 2011). Techniques vary from broadcasting exotic seed to seedbed preparation and planting. The impact on native grassland depends on the types of exotics used and the level of grazing following pasture conversion (Qld DERM 2011).


The Bowen Basin, which is coincident with Aristida annua's distribution, is an internationally significant source of coal resources. In the area, 68 mines are either active or expected to become operational (Department of Mines and Energy 2011 cited in Qld DERM 2011). Development and operation of mines and associated infrastructure can have detrimental impacts to the surrounding environment. However, there have been instances of mining companies managing natural grasslands outside of the mine's direct path for environmental benefit (Qld DERM 2011). There is evidence of flora surveys for a mine in likely Aristida annua habitat being undertaken during the species' non-flowering period (EPBC Referral 2002).

The Draft Recovery plan for the Natural grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin ecological community (Qld DERM 2011) outlines a number of high priority recovery objectives for the community that would benefit Aristida annua:

  • Identify and evaluate the condition and environmental values of mapped remnants.
  • Improve the conservation status of the ecological community and EPBC Act and state listed species.
  • Encourage 'best practice' management of the natural grassland ecological community.
  • Enhance the ability of government and non-government organisations at the national, regional and local levels to recognise and incorporate natural grassland conservation issues into planning processes.
  • Increase knowledge of cultural values and biota of the natural grassland ecological community.

Management documents for Aristida annua include:

  • Draft Recovery plan for the Natural grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin ecological community (Qld DERM 2011).

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 Aristida annua in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006bh) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Aristida annua in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006bh) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Aristida annua in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006bh) [Internet].

BRI Collection Records (BRI) (undated). Queensland Herbarium specimens.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from:

EPBC Referral (2002). Referral Form - 2002/637 - MIM Holdings Limited/Land transport/Rolleston/QLD/rail track to link the proposed MIM Rolleston coal mine to existing rail network . Unpublished paper file.

Fletcher, M. (2001). Rare and Threatened plants of the Central Highlands.

Lazarides, M. (1999). Personal Communication.

Queensland Department of Envrionment and Resource Management (Qld DERM) (2011). Draft Recovery plan for the Natural grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin ecological community. Unpublished draft. Brisbane, Queensland: DERM.

Simon, B.K. (1984). New Taxa and Nomenclature Changes in Aristida L. (Poaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya. 2(1):87-102.

Simon, B.K. (1992b). A revision of the genus Aristida (Poaceae) in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany. 5:192-226.

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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). Aristida annua in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 02:58:25 +1000.