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 Marsdenia brevifolia
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia brevifolia (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008sb) [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] as Marsdenia brevifolia.
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Marsdenia brevifolia
Scientific name Marsdenia brevifolia [64585]
Family Asclepiadaceae:Gentianales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author P.I.Forster
Infraspecies author  
Reference Aust. Syst. Bot. 8: 795 (1995).
Other names Gymnema brevifolium [17557]
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: Marsdenia brevifolia

Common name: Shrubby Bush Pear

Conventionally accepted as Marsdenia brevifolia (CHAH 2010).

Marsdenia brevifolia is a small shrub to 1 m high, sometimes weakly twining, with fibrous roots and cylindrical stems to 2 mm in diameter, exuding white latex when cut. Leaves are 4 cm long to 2 cm wide, dark green above, lower surface pale yellow-green and sparsely to densely hairy, wedge-shaped to rounded at the base, acute to tapering at the apex. Leaves are on stalks 1–4 mm long. Flowers are 2–2.5 mm long, 1.8–3.5 mm wide, on stalks 1.5–2.2 mm long. The corolla (inner petals) forms an urn-shape, cream-green to yellow in colour, with the basal part (tube) 1.2–2 mm long and lobes above the tube 0.8–1.5 mm long. Fruits are spindle-shaped (tapering at both ends) and 3.4–4.5 cm long (Forster 1995a, 1996d).

Marsdenia brevifolia occurs in north and central Queensland where it is known from near Townsville, Springsure and north of Rockhampton (Forster 1995a). A single population also occurs at West Point on Magnetic Island (Forster 1995a).

There is no quantative population data for M. brevifolia. Herbarium records of the species describe it as rare or very rare (seven records), occasional (seven records), and very common (three records) (BRI collection records n.d.).

Marsdenia brevifolia is reserved in Minerva Hills National Park, near Springsure, and within a forest reserve in State Forest 262 near Springsure (BRI collection records n.d.).

North of Rockhampton, M. brevifolia grows on serpentine rock outcrops or crumbly black soils derived from serpentine in eucalypt woodland, often with Broad-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa) and Corymbia xanthope. At Hidden Valley near Paluma, plants grow in woodland on granite soils dominated by Granite Ironbark (E. granitica), Rustyjacket (C. leichhardtii) and White Mahogany (E. acmenoides). On Magnetic Island the species occurs in open forest on dark acid agglomerate soils dominated by Narrow-leafed Ironbark (E. drepanophylla) (Forster 1995a). In the Springsure area M. brevifolia grows in eucalypt woodland (BRI collection records n.d.).

Flowers have been recorded from November to February with fruits from January to June (Forster 1995a, 1996d). Despite its close association with serpentine geology in the Marlborough area, the species is not a nickel hyperaccumulator (absorption to a greater concentration than the soil in which it is growing) (Batianoff cited in Forster 1995a).

Among the shrubby Marsdenia spp., M. brevifolia is distinctive in lacking a ring of tissue between the petals and the stamens of its flowers (Forster 1995a).

Grazing and cropping

Most of the land on serpentine soils in central Queensland is currently used for cattle grazing and a high proportion of native vegetation in these areas has been cleared for cropping and pastures. Cattle kill individuals of Marsdenia brevifolia by trampling and grazing of plants growing at the edges of springs (Batianoff et al. 2000; Forster 1995a; QLD DERM 2010a).

Habitat modification or loss

Marsdenia brevifolia grows in artesian springs and wetlands and is threatened by the drainage of this habitat. The closure of bore drains can also destroy habitat for this species (Batianoff et al. 2000; Forster 1995a; QLD DERM 2010a).


Gravel and nickel mining north of Rockhampton and west of Paluma are threats to the species. Mining leases are widespread on serpentine deposits where M. brevifolia occurs north of Rockhampton, and interest in open-cut mining in these areas is increasing (Batianoff et al. 2000; Forster 1995a; QLD DERM 2010a).

Pig disturbance

There are a small number of records at artesian springs in the Desert Uplands where rooting by the feral Pig (Sus scrofa) destroys the habitat. This damage can be greater at small spring sites where the intensity of damage is greater (Batianoff et al. 2000; Forster 1995a; QLD DERM 2010a).

Inappropriate fire regimes

High intensity and too frequent fires kill individuals (Batianoff et al. 2000; Forster 1995a; QLD DERM 2010a).

Management documents relevant to Marsdenia brevifolia are at the start of the profile. The Burdekin Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity (QLD DERM 2010a) includes actions to protect this species in the Burdekin NRM region.

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 Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oj) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oj) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oj) [Internet].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Habitat disturbance from recreational vehicle use Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oj) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia brevifolia (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008sb) [Conservation Advice].

Batianoff, G.N., V.J. Neldner & S. Singh (2000). Vascular Plant Census and floristic analysis of serpentine landscapes in central Queensland. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland. 109:1-30.

BRI Collection Records (BRI) (undated). Queensland Herbarium specimens.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from:

Forster, P.I. (1995a). Circumscription of Marsdenia (Asclepiadaceae: Marsdenieae), with a revision of the genus in Australia and Papuasia. Australian Journal of Systematic Botany. 8(5):703-933.

Forster, P.I. (1996d). Marsdenia. In: A.E. Orchard, ed. Flora of Australia. 28:245-267. CSIRO, Australia, Melbourne.

Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (QLD DERM) (2010a). Burdekin Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. [Online]. Available from:

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). Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:52:37 +1000.