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 Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008ym) [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].
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (44) (14/8/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006h) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Threatened flora of the Western Central Wheatbelt (Collins, J., 2009) [State Species Management Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013)
Scientific name Ptilotus fasciculatus [3832]
Family Amaranthaceae:Caryophyllales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author W.Fitzg.
Infraspecies author  
Reference The Journal of Botany 50 (Apr. 1912) 128.
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: Ptilotus fasciculatus (Fitzgerald W.V. 1912)

Common name: Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla (Brown et al. 1998)

Ptilotus fasciculatus was previously taxonomically confused with Ptilotus caespitulosus. This species was previously thought to be extinct until collections made in 1987 (misidentified as Ptilotus caespitulosus) were correctly identified as P. fasciculatus in 2000 (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is a perennial plant with short leafy branches and upright, simple flowering stems. It has hairless leaves, 10 to 14 mm long, that are crowded and narrow, with pointed tips, and having sheathing bases. The spherical flower spikes are about 2.5 cm in diameter on white, woolly stems, up to 13 cm tall. The broad, straw coloured bracts and bracteoles are about 3 mm long and have long, soft, shaggy hairs. The outer flower parts have broadened tips and are reddish at first (Brown et al. 1998).

Populations of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla are located in a linear range parallel to the coast (north-north-west to south-south-east), in areas surrounding Kondinin, Carnamah and Coorow in the midwest and wheatbelt regions of southern Western Australia. The most southern tip of this species extent is 180 km east of Perth (CALM 2005).

The total extent of occurrence for Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is estimated to be approximately 22 312 km² for 11 identified subpopulations. Due to the fact that this species was only rediscovered in 2000 and several additional populations have only recently been located, there is insufficient data to show trends in extent of occurrence (CALM 2005).

The total area of occupancy is unknown for this species but it is estimated to be approximately 1.411+ km². The area of occupancy has been estimated for the following subpopulations of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla:

Population 1: 0.16 km²,

Population 2a: 0.001 km²,

Population 2b: 0.00000001 km²,

Population 3: Herbarium record therefore area unknown,

Population 4: 0.07 km²,

Population 5: 0.12 km²,

Population 6: 0.19 km²,

Population 7: Herbarium record therefore area unknown,

Population 8: 0.48 km²,

Population 9: 0.2 km²,

Population 10: 0.19 km²,

Population 11: unknown (CALM 2005).

The distribution of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is severely fragmented. All populations are isolated and are located in different shires. The present distribution indicates that the original range for this species was greater in the past and that the species suffered from major threats (salinity, grazing and habitat clearance) (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla was presumed extinct until re-collected in 1987 from private land near Coorow. Annual surveys were undertaken on known populations and surroundings areas by CALM regional staff during 2001 to 2003 and a consultant conducted surveys in 2003. In 2002 a new population was discovered (population 7). During 2003 four new populations were located (populations 8, 9, 10, 11). It is thought that there may be additional populations in the vicinity of population 11 and CALM plans to carry out additional surveys in the greater Seagroatts area in Spring 2005 (CALM 2005).

The total population of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is approximately 3325 (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is known to occur in 11 subpopulations (CALM 2005).

As this species was only rediscovered in 2000 there is insufficient data to determine trends in population size, however the population of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is probably declining at a rate that would threaten the survival of the species within 20 to 50 years (CALM 2005).

Populations 1, 6, 8, 9 10 and 11 have populations in excess of 100 plants. These populations are essential for the maintenance of genetic variation (CALM 2005).

Three populations occur within CALM managed Nature Reserves;

  • Population 7: Yenyening Nature Reserve
  • Population 10: Kwolyin Nature Reserve
  • Population 11: Seagroatts Nature Reserve
  • Population 8: 200 m east of Glenluce Nature Reserve (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla grows in white-grey, sandy-loam, clay soils in moist, saline conditions. It is found in open shrubland (CALM 2005).

Species associated with Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla include; Acacia accuminata, A. tetragonaphylla, Allocasaurina campestris, Dianella revoluta, Atriplex sp., Halosarcia halocrumoides, H. lepidosperma, Melaleuca sp., M. lateriflora, Frankenia sp., Rhagodia sp., Eragrostis dielsii, Sarcocornia blackinia, Eremophila eriocalyx and Roycea pyncnophylloides (Brown et al. 1998; CALM 2005).

The flowering period for Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is September to November (WA Herbarium 2005) with peak flowering in November. Details of fruit set and pollination mechanisms are unknown (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is similar to P. caespitulosus, varying in having slightly longer flowers with broad apices to the petals, plus variations in the arrangement of hairs on the flowers, and position of style on ovary (CALM 2005).

Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla is extremely easy to find during the flowering season, however expertise in identifying the differences of P. caespitulosus is needed to avoid confusion (CALM 2005).

The table below identifies the present and future threats to the survival of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla (CALM 2005).

Population Past Present Future
Pop. 1 Unknown Possibly salinity and weeds Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 2a Unknown Possibly grazing and clearing Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 2b Unknown Possibly grazing and clearing Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 3 Unknown Unknown Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 4 Unknown Unknown Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 5 Unknown Unknown Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 6 Salinity Salinity is evident, some areas becoming saline Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 7 Unknown Unknown Waterlogging & Salinity likely
Pop. 8 Salinity Salinity is evident, Grazing by rabbits and kangaroos Waterlogging & Salinity, grazing
Pop. 9 Salinity Salinity is evident Waterlogging & Salinity
Pop. 10 Salinity Salinity is evident, grazing rabbits and kangaroos Waterlogging & Salinity, grazing
Pop. 11 Unknown Salinity Waterlogging & Salinity likely

In the past land clearing and grazing were likely to be the key threats to the survival of Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla. Land Degradation due to salinity is evident at several of the locations where Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla occurs, and has been for some time.

While most of the populations occur adjacent to areas that would naturally be saline, salinity has been noted as a potential threat on survey forms for populations 1, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Advice from staff at the West Australian Herbarium indicates that this species is salt tolerant although research trials have not been carried out to confirm this (R. Davis pers. comm. 2005). There is currently little evidence of the impact of salinity on these plants. However, given the trends in increasing levels of salinity, waterlogging and soil acidity across the agricultural areas as a whole, it is likely that these populations will experience significant increases in levels of salinity and waterlogging in the near future and therefore this is potentially a significant future threat (CALM 2005).

Grazing by rabbits and kangaroos is also evident at several populations (2, 8 and 10) and presumably will continue to be a threat to these populations. However, plants at all three of these populations were reported to be in a healthy condition when last surveyed (CALM 2005).

Threat abatement and recovery actions for Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla populations include;

  • Continued surveys to try and locate additional populations of this species.

  • The owners or managers of the land parcels containing populations of this species have been notified and advised of their legislative responsibilities to protect the plants. Legislative protection under the West Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and clearing provisions under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 provide legal protection from clearing and other human physical disturbance to the plants and population sites (CALM 2005).

The original collection of this species was made by W.V. Fitzgerald in 1912 (CALM 2005).

An Interim Recovery Plan has not been prepared for Fitzgerald's Mulla-mulla. However, in accordance with CALM's draft Policy Statement 9 (CALM 2004) an IRP will be prepared for this species as its conservation status is currently ranked as Endangered.

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 Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by kangaroos and wallabies Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Changes in hydrology leading to rising water tables and dryland salinity Commonwealth Listing Advice on Ptilotus fasciculatus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006de) [Listing Advice].

Brown, A., C. Thomson-Dans & N. Marchant, eds. (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Como, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

CALM (2004). Draft Policy Statement No 9. Conserving Threatened Species and Ecological Communities (Revised). Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Fitzgerald, W. (1912). New West Australian Plants. Journal of Botany, British and Foreign. 50.

Hopper, S.D., S. van Leeuwen, A.P. Brown & S.J. Patrick (1990). Western Australia's Endangered Flora and other plants under consideration for declaration. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Consrvation and Land Management.

Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2005). Records held in CALM's Declared Flora Database and Rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM.

Western Australian Herbarium (2005). FloraBase - The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/.

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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). Ptilotus fasciculatus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:08:18 +1000.