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 Critically Endangered as Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003f) [Listing Advice].
 
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 Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan] as Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens.
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.11 - Significant Impact Guidelines for the Critically Endangered Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens) (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009a) [Admin Guideline].
 
Background Paper to EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.11 - Nationally Threatened Species and Ecological Communities: Significant Impact Guidelines for the Critically Endangered Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens) (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009b) [Admin Guideline].
 
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 Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens.
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (24/04/2003) (Mt Cameron Heath) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2003f) [Legislative Instrument] as Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
VIC:Spiny Rice-flower prescription - Melbourne Strategic Assessment (Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE), 2010d) [Management Plan].
VIC:Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 132 Revised 2008 - Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE), 2008z) [State Action Plan].
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Vulnerable (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens [21980]
Family Thymelaeaceae:Myrtales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Rye
Infraspecies author  
Reference Flora of Australia 18: 153, 324 (1990).
Other names Pimelea spinescens spinescens [67322]
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: Pimelea spinscens subsp. spinescens

Common name: Spiny Rice-flower

Other names: Plains Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea

The Spiny Rice-flower is a stunted sub-shrub that grows 5–30 cm in height. It has small, pale yellow flowers and a thick perennial rootstock (Entwisle 1996c; MEL undated; Rye 1990). It has small, green, elliptical leaves, up to 10 mm long and 3 mm wide, and the stems are tipped with spines (TSSC 2003f; DSE 2005). The large tap root can be up to 1.5 m deep (DEWHA 2009a).

The Spiny Rice-flower is endemic to Victoria, and occurs in lowland grassland, grassy woodland and open shrublands from south-western to north-central Victoria (DEWHA 2009b; TSSC 2003f).

The Spiny Rice-flower is most often found within the ecological community Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain, a critically endangered ecological community listed under the EPBC Act.

Almost all currently known populations are small (Vic SAC 1996c).

This species has a very restricted area of occupancy, estimated to be 5.7 km² with an upper limit estimated to be 10 km² (TSSC 2003f).

Populations of the Spiny Rice-flower are substantially fragmented, due to historical land clearance for settlement, industry and agriculture (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

The number of mature individuals of Spiny Rice-flower is estimated at 55 000, occurring over 184 sites. The majority of sites support very small populations of less than 100 plants (DEWHA 2009a).

The following table provides data for 2006 on some of the known populations.


Location Comments
Road and rail sides
 
Mt Mercer - Shelford Rd,
Shelford
'High' total population at site in good condition.
Durham Ox - Rayburn Rd,
Tandarra
Over 50 plants.
Crossman Rd - Pine Grove Over 270 plants at a site with many other threatened flora species.
Jasper Road - Milloo Over 100 plants.
McElwains Road - Dingee Over 200 plants.
Hands Road - Dingee
Over 500 plants on high quality road reserve.
Meins Lane & Muckleford -
Yapeen Rd, Yapeen
Over 300 plants at a site with several other threatened flora species.
Chatsworth Rd, Derinallum Over 1000 plants on high-quality road reserve.
Bendigo-Tennyson Rd, Milloo 'Small' population.
Un-named road, Wareek Less than 50 plants.
Wimmera Highway, Marnoo Population size unknown but apparently 'considerable'.
Val Matthews Road, Marnoo Population size unknown but apparently 'considerable'.
Wingeel rail siding Population size unknown.
Mitiamo rail siding 'Small' population.
Private Land  
Echuca
Several thousand plants on sympathetically managed farmland, where the site is lightly grazed.
Patho Several hundred plants on farmland.
Bacchus Marsh
Over 500 plants on several adjoining properties in Bences Road area.
Westpoint Business Park
(formerly Laverton RAAF base)
Over 500 plants in three fenced reserves set aside on a
commercial/industrial estate.
Other land  
Truganina Cemetery
Over 200 plants in small native grassland remnant containing several other threatened flora species, within an active cemetery. A Public Authority Management Agreement exists between the Cemetery Trust and DSE.
Lake Borrie Spit, Western
Treatment Plant
Over 300 plants at a secure site (a RAMSAR wetland) that is actively
managed for its biodiversity values by Melbourne Water.

Table 1. Location of Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens populations in Victoria, taken from Carter and Walsh (2006h).

Based on the rate of decline of grassland habitat since the 1980s, it is estimated that the population size of the Spiny Rice-flower has declined by as much as 30% over the past 20 years and is likely to experience similar declines over the next 10–20 years (TSSC 2003f).

Small populations occur within the Derrimut Conservation Reserve (Vic SAC 1996c).

The Spiny Rice-flower is found in Themeda triandra - Austrostipa spp. grassland or open shrubland on basalt-derived soils, usually comprising black or grey clays (Walsh & Entwisle 1996). Northern populations occur on red clay complexes, with southern populations found on heavy grey-black clay loams. The Spiny Rice-flower typically grows on flat land, but may also grow on slight rises or in slightly wettish depressions (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

A single plant was discovered near Stawell which was growing in Eucalyptus leucoxylon-Allocasuarina luehmannii woodland, on non-basalt soil (V. Stajsic 2001, pers. comm.).
The Spiny Rice Flower is mostly found within the "Natural Temperate Grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plain" ecological community. This ecological community is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act.

The Spiny Rice-flower is dioecious, meaning that an individual plant will only produce either male or female flowers resulting in unisexual plants (DSE 2003). Flowering occurs from April to August (Entwisle 1996c). The Common Grass-blue Butterfly (Zizina labradus labradus) has been identified as a possible pollinator (D. Marshall pers comm., cited in Foreman 2005). It is possible that the Spiny Rice-flower needs a disturbance regime to reproduce, such as relatively frequent fires followed by good seasonal rainfall (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

This species is slow growing and may live up to 100 years (TSSC 2003f).

Spiny Rice-flower can be distinguished from the related sub-species Wimmera Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp. pubiflora) by the latter having hairy pedicles and flowers (external) (Foreman 2005).

Spiny Rice-flower can be difficult to find. Transect surveys should be conducted during the flowering period (April to August) and should include people familiar with recognising the subspecies. Multiple surveys may be required to identify the species, to provide adequate survey effort for this hard to detect species. Surveys should not be conducted in areas that have been burnt during the previous six months, or grazed during the previous three months (DEWHA 2009b).

The Spiny Rice-flower is significantly prone to future threats which are likely to result in extinction. Populations are threatened by residential and industrial development, construction and maintenance activities on road and rail reserves which may affect drainage and fire regimes, cattle grazing and trampling, ploughing, and weed invasion. The species is very rare in terms of abundance and distribution. Almost all populations are small and most occur on road and rail reserves, with others on private property (Vic SAC 1996c).

Weed invasion
Many grasslands on basalt-derived soils north and west of Melbourne are being invaded by South American species of Nassella (including Serrated Tussock). Chilean Needle Grass (N. neesiana) is often found on basalt soils (VRO 2008). Habitat degradation due to invasive weeds, particularly the Nassella species, continues to adversely impact subpopulations through increased competition for space and resources (TSSC 2003f). Weed invasion is the most serious threat facing the Spiny Rice-flower (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

Habitat conservation and population fragmentation
Whilst there are several initiatives to conserve and protect remnant grassland habitats (and hence populations of the Spiny Rice-flower), there is no evidence that current conservation efforts have been successful in reversing declines in either the Spiny Rice-flower or its grassland habitat. Many subpopulations occur on privately owned land that is not reserved for conservation such as road and rail reserves. Maintenance to these roads and railways may pose a threat to the Spiny Rice-flower (Carter & Walsh 2006h). It is probable that suitable grassland habitat for the Spiny Rice-flower will continue to be lost to development, or degraded due to weed invasion (TSSC 2003f).

The small size of most subpopulations is another factor that places the Spiny Rice-flower under increased threat (TSSC 2003f).

The population is severely fragmented, with subpopulations that are geographically isolated from each other. The geographic separation of subpopulations means that gene-flow between subpopulations is likely to be minimal. Seedling recruitment is also rarely observed within the subpopulations and successful recruitment is an irregular event. This limited recruitment capacity of the Spiny Rice-flower limits its opportunity for natural establishment at suitable grassland sites or recolonisation of sites where it may have become extinct (TSSC 2003f).

Grazing
Populations of Spiny Rice-flower are at risk from grazing by herbivores including feral rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and stock. However, a light level of grazing may be beneficial to the species (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

Inappropriate fire regimes
The Spiny Rice-flower may be dependant on some level of disturbance regime to prevent its habitat becoming crowded by weeds and native grasses (Carter & Walsh 2006h).

The specific objectives of the National Recovery Plan for the Spiny Rice-flower (Carter & Walsh 2006h) are to:

  • Acquire accurate information for conservation status assessments
  • Identify critical, common or potential habitat
  • Ensure protection and appropriate management for all populations and their habitat
  • Manage threats to populations
  • Identify key biological functions
  • Determine the growth rates and viability of populations
  • Build community support for conservation.
  • The Guidelines on Significance for the Spiny Rice-flower (EPBC Policy Statement 3.11 - Spiny Rice-flower) identify:

    • Significant impact thresholds for the species.
    • Avoidance/minimisation of impacts.
    • Acceptable mitigation measures (DEWHA 2009b).

    Spiny Rice-flower plants have been translocated and are recorded to have lived for several years at the new location. However, these plants have not reproduced and hence the translocations are not considered successful (S. Mueck, pers. comm. 2008 cited in DEWHA 2009b).

    As part of the National Recovery Plan, a detailed study of the habitat condition and demographic structure of 16 populations in the Victorian Riverina and Volcanic Plains was undertaken in 2004 (Foreman 2005). The distribution of the Spiny Rice-flower in the Shire of Melton, Victoria, has also been studied (Brennan & Herwerth 2005).

    There is a National Recovery Plan for the Spiny Rice-flower (Carter & Walsh 2006h) for this species. Additional management information may be found in the Victorian Action Statementof this species (DSE 2003).

    Guidelines for assessing impacts on this species can be found in the EPBC Policy Statement 3.11 - Spiny Rice-flower and the background paper to the EPBC Policy Statement 3.11 (DEWHA 2009a, 2009b).

    The Pimelea spinescens Recovery Team has developed protocols for seed collection, propogation and translocation (Pimelea spinescens Recovery Team 2008, 2009, 2009a).

    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 Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003f) [Listing Advice].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Lepus capensis (Brown Hare) Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Phalaris aquatica (Phalaris) Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003f) [Listing Advice].
    Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Residential and Commercial Development:Commercial and Industrial Areas:Recreational, commercial and industrial development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003f) [Listing Advice].
    Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003f) [Listing Advice].
    Transportation and Service Corridors:Transportation and Service Corridors:Road and rail maintenance works Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].
    Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan (Carter, O. & N. Walsh, 2006o) [Recovery Plan].

    Brennan, A. & T. Herwerth (2005). Known occurrences of Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp spinescens) ans Small Scurf-pea (Cullen parvum) in the Shire of Melton, Victoria, Australia in 2005. Melton, Victoria: A report to the Department of Sustainability and Environment by Melton Shire Council.

    Carter, O. & N. Walsh (2006o). Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens - National Recovery Plan. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/p-spinescens.html.

    Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2009a). EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.11 - Significant Impact Guidelines for the Critically Endangered Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/pubs/spiny-rice-flower.pdf.

    Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2009b). Background Paper to EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.11 - Nationally Threatened Species and Ecological Communities: Significant Impact Guidelines for the Critically Endangered Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subspecies spinescens). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/pubs/background-paper-spiny-rice-flower.pdf.

    Entwisle, T.J. (1996c). Thymelaeaceae. In: Flora of Victoria. 3:912-930. Melbourne, Victoria: Inkata Press.

    Flora & Fauna Guarantee - Scientific Advisory Committee (Vic SAC) (1996c). Final recommendation on a nomination for listing: Pimelea spinescens Rye - Plains Rice-flower (nomination no. 391). Dept. of Natural Resources & Environment, Victoria.

    Foreman, P. (2005). Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp spinescens Rye): Habitat condition and demographic structure of 16 selected populations from the Victorian Riverina and Volcanic Plains. Report no. 1. spinescens. [Online]. Spiny Rice Flower Recovery Plan Working Group, Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). Available from: http://www.aanro.net/ccma/docs/Spiny%20Riceflower%20report%20final.pdf.

    Garrard, G. (2009). The spiny rice-flower: A case study in imperfect detection. Decision Point. 34:3-4. [Online]. Available from: http://www.aeda.edu.au/docs/Newsletters/DPoint_34.pdf.

    MEL (undated). National Herbarium of Victoria Specimens. [Online]. Available from: http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/research_and_conservation/herbarium.

    Pimelea spinescens Recovery Team (2008). Seed Collection Protocol. [Online]. Available from: http://bird.net.au/bird/images/8/83/Pimelea_spinescens_Seed_Collection_Protocol.pdf.

    Pimelea spinescens Recovery Team (2009). Seed propagation protocol. [Online]. Available from: http://bird.net.au/bird/images/d/dd/Pimelea_spinescens_Seed_Propagation_Protocol_June_2009.pdf.

    Pimelea spinescens Recovery Team (2009a). Translocation Protocol. [Online]. Available from: http://bird.net.au/bird/images/0/04/Pimelea_spinescens_Translocation_Protocol_August_2009.pdf.

    Rye, B.L. (1990). Thymelaeaceae. In: Flora of Australia. 18:122-215. Canberra: AGPS.

    Stajsic, V. (2001). Personal Communication.

    Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2003f). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens (Plains Rice-flower, Spiny Rice-flower, Prickly Pimelea). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/p-s-spinescens.html.

    Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) (2003). Action Statement no 132: Spiny Rice-flower, Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens. [Online]. Available from: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/0DD8684B8294560BCA2570ED000AB4B2/$File/132+Spiny+Rice+Flower+2001.pdf.

    Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) (2005). Spiny Rice-flower Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens: A Nationally Threatened Species of the Grassland Community. spinescens. [Online]. Available from: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/E53EAE6078B397A8CA2571140013B63B/$File/Pimelea+spinescens+ssp+spinescens+red+mar+2006.pdf.

    Victorian Resources Online (VRO) (2008). Chilean Needle Grass (Nassella neesiana). [Online]. Department of Primary Industries. Available from: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/DPI/Vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/weeds_perennial_chilean_needle_grass.

    Walsh, N.G. & T.J. Entwisle (1996). Flora of Victoria. 3. Melbourne, VIC: Inkata Press.

    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). Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 21 Apr 2014 19:19:50 +1000.