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 Rhaphidospora bonneyana
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Rhaphidospora bonneyana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008ua) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Rhaphidospora bonneyana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2012ak) [Listing 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 Rhaphidospora bonneyana.
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list) as Rhaphidospora bonneyana
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Rhaphidospora bonneyana
Scientific name Rhaphidospora bonneyana [8029]
Family Acanthaceae:Scrophulariales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (F.Muell.) R.M.Barker
Infraspecies author  
Reference Barker, R.M. (1986) A taxonomic revision of Australian Acanthaceae. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 9: 233, figs. 35 H-J, 40 (map). [comb. nov.]
Other names Justicia bonneyana [23058]
Justicia procumbens var. bonneyana [28146]
Chloanthes bonneyana [31774]
Ecbolium bonneyanum [45997]
Hemistemon bonneyi [61354]
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: Rhaphidospora bonneyana

Rhaphidospora bonneyana is a long-lived, small shrub, growing to 40 cm in height. It has widely spread, lateral branches, each with a spine and leaves that are less than 10 mm long (TSSC 2012ak).

Flowers are white or pale-lilac with red spots and are borne in small clusters at the end of a long stalk. Fruits are a capsule approximately 16 mm long (TSSC 2012ak).

Rhaphidospora bonneyana is known from only nine specimens, the majority of these being collected from western Queensland and two collected from north-west NSW (Barker 1986).

In Queensland, the species has been recorded at six sites. The distribution of Rhaphidospora bonneyana occurs within the area between Tambo, Augathella, Adavale and Emmet.

In NSW, the species has been historically recorded at Mt Murchison, near Wilcannia (Barker 1986). However, the species is listed in NSW as 'presumed extinct' and is no longer thought to occur at that location. (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney 2001).

The species' current extent of occurrence is estimated to be 136 000 km2 (Queensland Herbarium cited in TSSC 2012ak). The species' distribution is severely fragmented, because its natural habitat is uncommon and widely scattered (Bean 2009b).

Two of the sites where the species is known to occur are within national parks in Queensland, Idalia National Park and Mariala National Park (Queensland Herbarium 2008b).

Rhaphidospora bonneyana grows on hilltops and escarpments, in rocky areas with shallow, infertile soils (TSSC 2012ak).

It is associated with Lancewood (Acacia shirleyi), Bendee (Acacia catenulata), Bowyakka (Acacia microsperma), Supplejack (Ventilago viminalis) (TSSC 2012ak), Wilga (Geijera parviflora) and in tall, open-shrubland with scattered emergent Eucalyptus thozetiana trees (Barker 1986).

Flowering has been recorded between March and October and is thought to be responsive to prior rainfall (Barker 1986). Pollination mechanisms for this species are unknown. It is also not known whether the species can reproduce vegetatively (Bean 2009b).

There are only two species of Rhaphidospora in Australia, Rhaphidospora bonneyana and Rhaphidospora cavernaraRhaphidospora bonneyana is distinguished from R. cavernarum by the following combination of characters: it is a spiny shrub and its leaves are narrow-elliptic and 2—8 x 0.5—1 mm with entire margins and peduncles without glandular hairs (Barker 1986). Rhaphidospora bonneyana is also the only of the two species which is found in arid areas.

Rhaphidospora bonneyana is similar in appearance to Xerothamnella parviflora, but the latter has smaller flowers and fruits, and is not as spiny (Bean 2009b).

The species is a perennial shrub and surveys can be carried out at any time of the year (Bean 2009b).

Overgrazing by feral goats and macropods are the only known threats to Rhaphidospora bonneyana, though little is known about the quantitative impacts on the species (Silcock cited in TSSC 2012ak).

Documents relevant to the management of Rhaphidospora bonneyana can be found at the start of the profile.

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
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Rhaphidospora bonneyana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008ua) [Conservation Advice].

Barker, R.M. (1986). A taxonomic revision of Australian Acanthaceae. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 9:1-286.

Bean, A.R. (2009b). Rhaphidospora bonneyana - Species Information Sheet. Provided to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Queensland Herbarium (2008b). Unpublished data.

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (RBGS) (2001). PlantNET (version 1.4). Sydney: Plant Information Network System of RBG.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2012ak). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Rhaphidospora bonneyana. [Online]. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Canberra, ACT: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 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). Rhaphidospora bonneyana in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:37:23 +1000.