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
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 National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].
 
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
TAS:Threatened Species Listing Statement-Tunbridge Buttercup, Ranunculus prasinus (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE), 2001g) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge Buttercup): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014dp) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
Scientific name Ranunculus prasinus [4862]
Family Ranunculaceae:Ranunculales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Menadue
Infraspecies author  
Reference Brunonia 8 (28 Feb. 1986) 375.
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://www.anbg.gov.au/images/photo_cd/301610241712/087.html

Scientific name: Ranunculus prasinus

Common name: Tunbridge Buttercup

The Tunbridge Buttercup is a member of the Ranunculaceae family. In Australia there are ten genera from this family, six of which occur in Tasmania. The Tunbridge Buttercup is a small perennial mat-forming herb that is generally found on the margins of grassland wetlands (TAS DIPWE 2001g). The leaves form a rosette at the base and usually arise in threes from each node. They are grass green and have a sparse covering of long soft hairs. The leaf stalks are generally 15–30 mm long, however this varies depending on habitat. In shady conditions leaf stalks are known to reach 45 mm, and in wetlands they frequently reach 160 mm in length. The solitary yellow flowers are 10–12 mm in diameter. The flowers consist of 5–6 oval shaped sepals and 5–8 oval shaped petals, which narrow at the base and form a claw. The achenes form globular heads 4–5 mm in diameter. Each achene is 1.8–2 mm long, semi-rounded in outline and beaked (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The Tunbridge Buttercup is endemic to Tasmania. It has been recorded at only seven sites, covering an area of 220 km². Its range extends from Tunbridge to Campbell Town in the central Midlands region. In total the species covers slightly more then 5 ha. Important locations, populations and areas are summarised below (TAS DIPWE 2001g):

  • Tunbridge Tier Road, Midland Highway junction (14 400 plants, 0.00145 ha)
  • White Lagoon, between Tunbridge and Ross (5000 plants, 0.025 ha)
  • Near Lagoon, between Tunbridge and Ross (5000 plants, 2 ha)
  • Stoyles Valley, Ross district (500 plants, 0.025 ha)
  • Maclains Plain, Campbell Town (5000 plants, 2 ha).

The Tunbridge Buttercup occurs exclusively on private property; recently two new populations have been discovered (Tas. DPIW 2006b):

  • East of Gavins Tier (5000 plants, 1 ha)
  • Down's Creek (10 000 plants, 0.01 ha).

There are an estimated 45 000 Tunbridge Buttercups in total in the wild. The largest site has a population of 14 400. Estimates are based on the number of rosettes and do not take into account plants that are joined by underground rhizomes (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The Tunbridge Buttercup occurs on the margins of wetlands, in areas where herbfields merge into tussock grassland dominated by tussock grass, Poa labillardierei. The species is confined to a region which has some of Tasmania's lowest annual rainfall. When the wetlands dry, the species expands onto the wetland floor area. All sites are flat or gently sloping. The Tunbridge Buttercup occurs at altitudes between 200 and 260 m. It lives in heavy clays which are alkaline (varying from 7.0 to 8.5 in pH) (Gilfedder 1991b).

The species also occurs in conjuction with other native mat-forming species. These include round-leaf Wilsonia, Wilsonia rotundifolia, Milky Beauty Heads, Calocephalus lacteus, and Swamp Weed, Selliera radicans (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

Introduced rosette species commonly occur with Tunbridge Buttercup, most notably Buck's-horn Plantain, Plantago coronopus, Hawkbit, Leontodon taraxacoides and Spear Thistle, Cirsium vulgare (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The Tunbridge Buttercup reproduces from seeds and spreads through underground rhizomes. The species flowers from October to March and appears to readily set viable seed. Regeneration appears to be largely vegetative. Germination methods are unknown. The seeds are large and beaked, possibly aiding dispersal by birds or animals (Tas. DPIW 2006b). The base of the petals contain nectar, indicating insects are a likely agent of pollination. The Ranunculaceae family is one of the few which can pollinate via rain (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The Tunbridge Buttercup is easily distinguished from other Ranunculus species. The pale yellow hairless sepals contrast with both the golden yellow petals and thinner grass green leaves. Other similiar species have a covering of course hairs on the speals and glossy dark-green leaves (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

Although there are a large number of Tunbridge Buttercup plants, the area occupied by the species is very small. This means they are highly susceptible to stochastic processes (i.e. compaction from vehicles, trampling by animals and invasion by woody weeds) (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The major threat to the Tunbridge Buttercup is land-clearing. The Tasmanian grasslands are one of Australia's rarest ecosystems; only 16.9% of the original terrestrial vegetation remains in the Tasmanian Midlands. Land-clearing for sheep grazing is the most common reason for habitat destruction. All known populations of the Tunbridge Buttercup occur on private land utilised for this purpose. The construction of dams, which is commonly associated with sheep grazing, can also threaten the species' population as the species occurs on the edge of wetlands and water interactions are important. Flooding or draining can lead to species extinction, particularly in low rainfall regions where land-owners may wish to store water to better cope with drought (Tas. DPIW 2006b).

The Flora Recovery Plan: Tunbridge Buttercup (Tas. DPIW 2006b) aims to improve protection of known populations and decrease the likelihood of species extinction, through conservation covenants or management agreements. The specific objectives of the plan include increasing the number of populations through protection of known populations and survey and establishment of an ex situ population. Ensuring numbers remain above 1000 in non-drought years, as well as establishing numbers greater then 1000 for ex situ populations are a crucial aspect of the plan. The integration of community and landowners to manage and better protect populations in the long term is seen as central to the success of the plan. The plan calls for six actions:

  • Pursue options with landowners/managers and planning authorities to protect populations against possible changes in land use that would be detrimental to the species.
  • Establish an ex situ population in the Township Lagoon Nature Conservation Area or another suitable site.
  • Survey for new populations.
  • Monitor disturbance levels relative to population size in known populations.
  • Advise and help landowners/managers to manage habitat in order to maintain or increase population size through appropriate grazing to reduce competition and appropriate soil disturbance to maintain or increase recruitment.
  • Develop mechanisms involving the community to manage and better protect wild and ex situ populations in the long term.

Relevant management documentation for the Tunbridge Buttercup includes:

  • Flora Recovery Plan: Tunbridge Buttercup (Tas. DPIW 2006b)

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 National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Ranunculus prasinus Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase- 1991-2000 (Gilfedder, L., 1991b) [State Recovery Plan].
National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes including flooding Ranunculus prasinus Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase- 1991-2000 (Gilfedder, L., 1991b) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to habitat hydrology National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Ranunculus prasinus Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase- 1991-2000 (Gilfedder, L., 1991b) [State Recovery Plan].
National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup) (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW), 2006b) [Recovery Plan].

Gilfedder, L. (1991b). Ranunculus prasinus Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase- 1991-2000. [Online]. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/r-prasinus/index.html.

Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW) (2006b). National Recovery Plan for Ranunculus prasinus (Tunbridge buttercup). [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIW. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/r-prasinus.html.

Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE) (2001g). Threatened Species Listing Statement-Tunbridge Buttercup, Ranunculus prasinus. [Online]. Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/SROS-6VJTR8/$FILE/Ranunculus%20prasinus%20listing%20statement.pdf.

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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). Ranunculus prasinus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 29 Aug 2014 23:29:49 +1000.