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 as Acacia pubescens
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan] as Acacia pubescens.
 
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] as Acacia pubescens.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Review of the Threatened Species Conservation Act Flora Schedules: Recommendations to the Scientific Committee: Final Summary Report December 2002 (Hogbin, P., 2002) [Report].
NSW:Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines - Acacia pubescens (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2003a) [Internet].
NSW:Downy Wattle - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005j) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Acacia pubescens
Scientific name Acacia pubescens [18800]
Family Fabaceae:Fabales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (Vent.) R.Br.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Hortus Kewensis ed. 2, 5: 467 (Nov. 1813).
Other names Acacia mollissima [32480]
Mimosa mollissima [35843]
Mimosa pubescens [35916]
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.

Other illustrations Google Images
http://farrer.riv.csu.edu.au/ASGAP/gallery1.html

The Downy Wattle is a weeping, spreading shrub to 5 m high (Orchard & Wilson 2001; Harden 2002; NSW NPWS 2003a) with brilliant yellow flowers and bipinnate leaves (NSW NPWS 2003a).

This species is confined to the Sydney district (Tame 1992; Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993; NSW NPWS 2003a, g) with most occurrences on the Cumberland Plain (Orchard & Wilson 2001). It is concentrated in the Bankstown-Fairfield-Rookwood area and around Pitt Town, near Windsor, with outliers occurring at Barden Ridge, near Sutherland in the south; Oakdale in the south-west; and at Mountain Lagoon, north-east of Bilpin in the north-west (NSW NPWS 2003a).

According to the State recovery plan, whilst the species has been recorded at 195 sites (NSW NPWS 2003g), it is currently known from 116 populations at 151 sites. Plants within 300 m of each other were defined as the one population, since dispersal is considered likely to occur over this distance in Acacia spp. (D.Keith pers. comm. in NSW NPWS 2003g). This means that populations may consist of a number of sites, whereas sites are defined largely by tenure boundaries. Downy Wattle occurs in the following 14 local government areas: Auburn, Bankstown, Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Canterbury, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta, Rockdale, Strathfield, Sutherland and Wollondilly (NSW NPWS 2003a, g).

Since this is a clonal species, a census based on counts of separate clumps may overestimate the number of genetically distinct individuals (NSW NPWS 2003g). Such counts indicate that more than half (51%) of extant populations each contain fewer than twenty individuals and that only six consist of more than 1000 clumps. Generally, sites are small with 82% covering less than 1 ha (NSW NPWS 2003g).

Given that the species has a fragmented distribution in what is now urban land of western Sydney, it is likely that it was once more common across its range (Leigh et al. 1984; NSW NPWS 2003g). Recorded localities include Menai, Liverpool, Salt Pan Ck, Kemps Ck (Fairley & Moore 2000), Fairfield, Pitt Town and Guildford to Yennora (Leigh et al. 1984), Canterbury, Bankstown, Chester Hill, Rookwood, Duck R., Bossley Park and Mountain Lagoon (Benson & McDougall 1996).

The species is conserved at four sites in Scheyville NP and at one site in Windsor Downs NR. Four other sites are on lands zoned for environmental protection (at Mountain Lagoon, Pleasure Point, Campbell Hill Pioneer Park and Duck River Reserve) and two sites owned by the Sydney Catchment Authority are being managed for nature conservation. The occurrence of this species at Mountain Lagoon is on land owned by NSW Dept. Land and Water Conservation (NSW NPWS 2003g) and not within Wollemi NP as previously reported (Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993; Briggs & Leigh 1996).

The species occurs in the following local government reserves: Carysfield Park, Landsdown Reserve (at Georges Hall), Louisa St Reserve (at Bass Hill), Mirambeena Regional Reserve, Norfolk Reserve (at Greenacre) and Potts Hill Reservoir, all in Bankstown Local Government Area (LGA); Bossley Park Rd Reserve and Bossley Park in Fairfield LGA; Longneck Lagoon Reserve in Hawkesbury LGA. Areas of particular conservation significance for the species are: remnant bushland in Rookwood Cemetery (Auburn LGA), Saltpan Ck, Riverwood, Padstow (Bankstown/Hurstville LGA), Horsley Park Corridor (Fairfield LGA), proposed additions to Longneck Lagoon (Hawkesbury LGA), Castlereagh SF (Penrith LGA), proposed additions to Agnes Banks NR (Penrith LGA), and remnant bushland at Kemps Ck (Penrith LGA) (Nash & Matthes 1995).

Two-thirds of sites are in public ownership: 55 sites are managed by Councils, 13 by the Rail Infrastructure Corporation and 26 by other public authorities (NSW NPWS 2003g). Downy Wattle has been recorded on Commonwealth land at the Villawood Detention centre (Bankstown City Council 2002), and at the Defence training area, Holsworthy Military Area (NSW NPWS 2003g).

The recovery plan contains a distribution map of all documented sites for the species (NSW NPWS 2003g). Locational details for many populations are provided by Nash & Matthes (1995) in Appendices 1 and 2. Occurrences have been recorded from the Fairfield, Liverpool and Campbelltown LGAs, and a population of 60 stems occurs on the northern side of Villawood Railway Station (James 1997).

This species occurs on ridges (Simmons 1982), hillsides and flat areas, at altitudes up to 650 m asl (NSW NPWS 2003g). It grows in gravelly clay or sandy soils on alluviums, shales and at the interface between shales and sandstones (Orchard & Wilson 2001; NSW NPWS 2003a, g). These soils contain ironstone (NSW NPWS 2003a), are usually low in nutrients and are well drained. Average annual rainfall is 700-1200 mm (Benson & McDougall 1996).

Acacia pubescens grows in dry open sclerophyll forest, woodland and Melaleuca scrub (Leigh et al. 1984; Harden 1991; Orchard & Wilson 2001). Associated species include Eucalyptus gummifera, E. sieberi, E. punctata, E. fibrosa, E. moluccana, Acacia suaveolens, A. ulicifolia, A. brownii, A. parramattensis, A. falcata, Bursaria spinosa, Corymbia maculata, M. nodosa, M. stypheliodes, M. decora and Angophora bakeri (Leigh et al. 1984; Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993; Benson & McDougall 1996; James 1997; NSW NPWS 2003g). It often occurs together with other threatened species such as Pultenaea parviflora, dillwynia tenuifolia and Micromyrtus minutiflora (James 1997).

The species grows in a number of ecological communities: Alluvial Woodland, Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest, Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland, Shale/Gravel Transition Forest, Shale Hills Woodland, Shale Plains Woodland and Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest (NSW NPWS 2003g).

Flowers are borne Aug.-Oct., with a peak in Sept. (NSW NPWS 2003a, g). Plants first flower when they are approximately 3-5 years old (NSW NPWS 2003g). Pollination of Acacia flowers is usually by insects and birds (Tame 1992).

Pods mature Oct.-Dec., with a peak in Nov. (Benson & McDougall 1996). Seeds are released Dec.-Jan. (Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993). The species is a shy seed setter (Simmons 1982), and the percentage of seed fall may be low. Pods were only observed at 30% of sites visited during surveys for the recovery plan; fewer than 10% of individuals at these sites produced pods (NSW NPWS 2003g). Seed appears to be heavily predated when on the plant (Thomas, D. pers. comm. in NSW NPWS 2003g). The species probably has high seed dormancy and a long lived persistent soil seed bank (NSW NPWS 2003g).

Recruitment occurs more commonly by vegetative means from suckers rather than from seedling (NSW NPWS 2003a) with plants producing suckers at most sites. It appears that in natural populations single-stemmed plants produce pods, but suckering plants do not (S.Burke pers. comm. in NSW NPWS 2003g). However suckering plants in cultivation do produce fruit (R.Johnson pers. comm. in NSW NPWS 2003g). A study of the genetic variation at ten sites, revealed cloning at all sites, and that most sites contained fewer than four individual genotypes. One genetic individual can cover up to 1.2 ha (Moore et al. 1999 in NSW NPWS 2003g).

The longevity of individuals has been reported to be 50 years (Benson & McDougall 1996), though this may be an underestimate, as individuals of clonal species have been known to survive for much longer periods (M.Matthes pers. comm. in NSW NPWS 2003g). Severe fires kill the stems (Benson & McDougall 1996). Regeneration occurs from seed following fire (Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993). The species may also sucker in response to a low to moderate intensity fire (Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993; NSW NPWS 2003g) or resprout from suckering roots (Simmons 1982; Benson & McDougall 1996).

Following fire, the minimum time for seed to be produced is expected to be 3-5 years (Wrigley pers. comm. in Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993). It is thought the species requires a minimum fire-free period of at least 5-7 years to allow an adequate seed bank to develop (Thomas 1994 in NSW NPWS 2003a). Others have suggested that a fire interval of 20-25 years is desirable and that this should be even longer if seed viability is low (Maryott-Brown & Wilks 1993).

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:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat modification through open cut mining/quarrying activities Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Habitat degradation associated with recreational activities such as horse riding Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Soil disturbance and/or trampling due to bushwalking Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:bicycles (off road) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Eragrostis curvula (African Lovegrass, Weeping Lovegrass, Weeping Love Grass, Boer Lovegrass, Weeping Grass) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Andropogon virginicus (Whisky Grass, Broomsedge) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Bryophyllum tubiflorum (Mother-of-millions) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Opuntia stricta (Common Prickly Pear, Erect Prickly Pear, Common Pest Pear, Spiny Pest Pear, Smooth Pest Pear, Sour Prickly Pear, Australian Pest Pear, Gayndah Prickly Pear, Dillen Prickly Pear, Pipestem Prickly Pear) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Paspalum dilatatum (Paspalum) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Rubus fruticosus aggregate (Blackberry, European Blackberry) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by Sida spp. Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery 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].
Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Habitat degradation caused by firebreak construction and/or maintenance 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) Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Pollution:Garbage and Solid Waste:Dumping of household and industrial waste Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [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].
Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Species Stresses (suggest Reproductive Resilience?):Indirect Species Effects:Reduction of genetic intergrity of a species due to hybridisation Recovery Plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens) - February 2003 (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2003i) [Recovery Plan].

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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). Acacia pubescens in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:44:11 +1000.