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 Acacia purpureopetala
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice for Acacia purpureopetala (a shrub) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014e) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Acacia purpureopetala (a shrub) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014o) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, recovery of the species is not complex and the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (24/01/2014).
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] as Acacia purpureopetala.
Amendment to the list of threatened species, threatened ecological communities and key threatening processes under sections 178, 181 and 183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (149) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014b) [Legislative Instrument] as Acacia purpureopetala.
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Acacia purpureopetala
Scientific name Acacia purpureopetala [61156]
Family Fabaceae:Fabales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author F.M.Bailey
Infraspecies author  
Reference Bailey, F.M. (1905) Contributions to the flora of Queensland. Queensland Agricultural Journal 15(6): 780 [tax. nov.]
Other names Acacia purpureipetala [14909]
Racosperma purpureipetalum [31689]
Racosperma purpureapetalum [61055]
Acacia purpureapetala [75017]
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

Scientific name: Acacia purpureopetala

Acacia purpureopetala is a small shrub with spreading prostrate branches. Branches are angular, becoming terete, and covered in dense white spreading hairs (Pedley 1987). It is distinguished from other Australian Acacia species as it has mauve-pink flower heads (Orchard & Wilson 2001).

Acacia purpureopetala occurs in the Herberton district in the Einasleigh Uplands biogeographic region of north-east Queensland (Orchard & Wilson 2001; Pedley 1987; Queensland Herbarium 2009).

From north to south there are five general locations where this species is found: Mt Emerald south of Walkamin; Stannery Hills; an area near Herberton; Irvinebank; and along the Misery-Coolgara Road, north-east of Mt Garnet (Queensland Herbarium 2009). This species had been collected at all five locations between 2004-2009 (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

The species' extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are estimated to be 902 km2 and less than 0.1 km2 respectively (Queensland Herbarium 2009).  

Total population extent

Acacia purpureopetala is known from ten populations (Queensland Herbarium 2009). The estimated total population figure for A. purpureopetala is 500 individuals (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.). The numbers of individual plants at each site are small (approximately <5-100).

The following Table (1) provides estimates for the numbers of individuals at each site.

Table 1: Population data (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.; Queensland Herbarium 2009)

Location Population Number of plants at each site
1. Mt Emerald 1. South of Walkamin 40
2. Stannery Hills  2. You and Me Mine 100
3. North of Stannary Hills Unknown
3. Herberton 4. Near Herberton 12
4. Irvinebank  5. Jumna Mine 100
6. Ibis Dam 100
5. North-east of Mt Garnet    7. Mt Misery 11
8. Along the Mt Misery-Coolgara road <5
9. Along the Mt Misery-Coolgara road <5
10. Along the Mt Misery-Coolgara road <5

Population status

Populations appear stable, with the exception of the Jumna Mine population which was  impacted by road works prior to 2009 (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.). All populations are considered neccessary for the long-term survival of A. purpureopetala (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.).

No populations are known to occur in reserves (Queensland Herbarium 2009). There are no captive populations of this species, although the establishment of extra populations has been discussed, such as at Bush Heritage Yourka Station (Baker-Gabb & Sheppard 2007).

Acacia purpureopetala grows on steep rocky slopes, usually at altitudes of 780-880 m above sea level in eucalypt woodland (Orchard & Wilson 2001; Queensland Herbarium 2009).

Near Mt Emerald, south-west of Walkamin, this species is found in a mosaic of heathland and woodland. Associated species are Ramornie Stringybark (Eucalyptus tindaliae), E. pachycalyx, Range Bloodwood (Eucalyptus abergiana), Homoranthus porteri and Leptospermum amboinense (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

At Stannary Hills, A. purpureopetala is found on the hilltop, on very steep loose rocky slopes and excavated rock surfaces on metamorphics, in open woodland with eucalypt woodland and sparse herbaceous flora (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

At the Herberton site, this species occurs on steep rocky hillsides and stone slopes in open forest of Eucalyptus rhodops and E. medicris woodland (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

In the Irvinebank area, it occurs on roadsides and disturbed situations within woodland where the associated species are Gympie Messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana), White Bloodwood (Corymbia trachyphloia), Acacia calyculata, A. humifusa and A. leptoloba and steep rocky slopes carrying Narrow Leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) woodland (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

Along the Mt Misery to Coolgara road it occurs in disturbed eucalypt woodland on rocky outcrops on low granite hills (Queensland herbarium 2009).

Acacia purpureopetala is known to flower mainly between May and September, with sporadic flowering at other times (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

This species has been recorded as occurring on disturbed sites in the Irvinebank area and therefore may require disturbance such as fire for reproduction (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

Habitat clearance, disturbance and direct removal

Mining is a past threat to A. purpureopetala, as three of the five known locations have been subject to mining operations. Mining is considered likely to be a future threat to this species (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.).

Roadworks and infrastructure maintenance, such as powerline easements are a current and continuing threat to this species (Queensland Herbarium 2009). Pre-2009 road widening had removed part of the population at the Irvinebank location (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.). Seed collection for horticulture may be a threat, given the desirabililty for this species when in flower. A lack of germination from illegally collected seed may lead to the collection of seedlings (McDonald 2009 pers. comm.).

Minister's reasons for recovery plan decision

There should not be a recovery plan for A. purpureopetala at this time as the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats.

Recovery actions are identified in the Commonwealth conservation advice

Refer to the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (TSSC 2008gl) for information on research priorities and recovery priority actions to mitigate threats including habitat loss, disturbance and modification. Raising awareness and undertaking further survey work of the species are also encouraged in the Advice.

Management documents identified for Acacia purpureopetala include:

  • Revegetation Guidelines and Recommendations for Gibbs Creek, Irvinebank (Gleed 2005)
  • Northern Gulf Region: Natural Resource Management Plan 2008-2013 (Northern Gulf Resource Management Group 2008)

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:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gl) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Acacia purpureopetala in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ao) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Acacia purpureopetala in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ao) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gl) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gl) [Conservation Advice].
Protected status:Protected status:Lack of secure conservation land tenure Acacia purpureopetala in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ao) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gl) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gl) [Conservation Advice].

Baker-Gabb, D. & M. Sheppard (2007). An iconic property in far-north Queensland . Bush Heritage News. Spring.

Gleed, S. (2005). Revegetation guidelines and recommendations for Gibbs Creek, Irvinebank. [Online]. Available from:

McDonald, K.A. (2009). Personal communication. Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Resource Management.

Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (2008). Northern Gulf Region: A Natural Resource Management Plan 2008-2013. [Online]. Georgetown: Northern Gulf Resource Management Group. Available from:

Orchard, A.E. & A.J.G. Wilson (eds) (2001). Flora of Australia, Volume 11A, Mimosaceae, Acacia Part 1.

Pedley, L. (1987). Acacias in Queensland. Brisbane: Department of Primary Industries.

Queensland Herbarium (2009). Specimen label information.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008gl). NON-CURRENT Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia purpureopetala. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

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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 purpureopetala in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:30:41 +1000.