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 Critically Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zk) [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
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (45) (14/08/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006j) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Interim Recovery Plan. No. 174. Ironstone Brachyscias (Brachyscias verecundus) Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009 (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2004b) [State Recovery Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Critically Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Brachyscias verecundus [81321]
Family Apiaceae:Apiales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author J.M.Hart & M.J.Henwood
Infraspecies author  
Reference Hart, J.M. & Henwood, M.J. (1999) Brachyscias (Apiaceae): a new genus from south-west Western Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 12(2): 176, Figs 1, 2 (map)
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: Brachyscias verecundus (J.M.Hart & Henwood 1999).

Common name: Ironstone Brachyscias (Luu & English 2004).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is an annual (or ephemeral) herb, growing to 12-22 mm high. It is entirely glabrous. The inner bases of compound inflorescence bracts are white and the flowers are white during early flowering. The petals are free, ovate approximately 0.7 mm long, 0.5 mm wide and inflexed. Flowers are pedicellate, minute and mostly male. The sepals are absent.

Ironstone Brachyscias fruit have an undulating surface. Immature fruit have styles adnate to nectaries. Leaves are basal, ternately divided, involcral bracts and bracteoles, foliaceous, without extra bracts around the flowers between the rays. Petiole sheathing is short at the base, flattened, 5-1 mm long, segments approximately 1 mm wide, margins are entire and the apex is acute. (CALM 2005; Luu & English 2004; WA Herbarium 2004).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is confined to an area near Busselton on the Swan Coastal Plain, and has also been recorded from an area near Shannon approximately 25 km north-north-west from Northcliffe in southern Western Australia, although the Shannon population has not been confirmed. Despite numerous searches over many years by CALM staff, this population has never been relocated. It appears likely that the information for this herbarium collection is incorrect and was actually for B. verecundus collected from the Busselton area (Luu & English 2004).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is endemic to a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) the 'Shrublands on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstones' (Busselton area), Swan Coastal Plain Community type 10b, as described in Gibson et al. (1994). The Busselton ironstone soils are highly restricted in distribution and are only located at 14 sites with an area of extent less than 300 km². The distribution of the Ironstone Brachyscias community is limited by the presence of naturally occurring ironstone soils. The Ironstone Brachyscias has been recorded at one of these locations in a 42 ha area. Therefore the current known extent of occurrence of this species is approximately 0.42 km² (CALM 2005).

Historical information regarding the past distribution of the Busselton Ironstone community suggests that the Ironstone Brachyscias may have been more widely distributed. However clearing of suitable habitat and a lack of fire or other anthropogenic disturbances to generate recruitment and establishment, are likely to have reduced the Ironstone Brachyscias distribution and may affect the surviving populations' future. The original extent of the species distribution is unknown (Luu & English 2004).

As there is only one known extant population of the Ironstone Brachyscias, the area of occupancy is the same as the current area of extent i.e. less than 0.42 km² (CALM 2005).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is currently known from two populations that would be considered locations under IUCN criteria (CALM 2005). However, population 1 is only known from herbarium records and survey efforts have not been able to relocate the species at this site. It is likely that there is only the one extant population, and that the location information for the population 1 is possibly incorrect (CALM 2005).

Some seed material has been collected and is currently stored at the West Australian Threatened Flora Seed Centre. This seed may be used in the future for translocation projects (CALM 2005; TFSC 2005).

Five years of survey undertaken by Gibson et al (1994) during Floristic Surveys of the Southern Swan Coastal Plain failed to locate the Ironstone Brachyscias (CALM 2005).

Staff from CALM's Warren Region have undertaken surveys for this species every year since its original Western Australian listing in 1995/6. No populations have been located from the Warren region and therefore population 1 may have disappeared or have been incorrectly recorded initially (CALM 2005).

An environmental consultant undertook general flora surveys of the Ironstone Swamp, Tutunup, during 1995. However, no records of the Ironstone Brachyscias were collected (CALM 2005).

CALM staff unsuccessfully searched for this species in CALM's Southern Forest Region, for three years. The Ironstone Brachyscias is now believed to be confined to the Busselton Ironstone community, and the previous location record at Shannon National Park is thought to be incorrect (although this location is still shown on the Florabase map).

CALM staff located the Ironstone Brachyscias in October 2000 during joint surveys carried out with a mining company environmental officer at Tutunup (CALM 2005).

Summary of survey effort and results to date (Luu & English 2004):

Pop. No. & Location Land Status Year/ No. plants Habitat Condition
**1. North of Shannon National Park 1986 25 unknown
2a. East of Busselton Rail Reserve 11/2000 *32

12/2000 *9 dying

2001 34

2002 0

2003 0

Healthy
2b. East of Busselton Private Property 11/2000 *32

12/2000 *9 dying

2001 26

2002 31

2003 0

Healthy

**= Herbarium collection never relocated and location appears unreliable

*= total for subpopulations combined.

The total current size of all known populations is 0 individuals based on the most recent surveys (CALM 2005).

Population 1 is only known from a herbarium record and has not been relocated since the initial collection. It is likely that the location information for this collection has been mixed up and it may have actually been collected in the vicinity of population 2 (CALM 2005).

Population 2a: 0 plants of healthy condition when last surveyed in 2003 (NB 34 plants were recorded in November 2001).

Population 2b: 0 plants of healthy condition when last surveyed in 2003. (NB 26 plants were recorded in November 2001).

The total population size of this species in 2001 was 60 individuals (CALM 2005).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is an annual species that appears in November. The species is not visible above-ground in January. When it is visible it is quite a small plant making survey efforts difficult. Its limited above-ground presence is also possibly linked to fire or other disturbance. As a result population size may vary from year to year (Luu & English 2004). Population 2 has declined since 2002. No plants were recorded during a survey in November 2003 (CALM 2005).

The Ironstone Brachyscias is thought to be a disturbance opportunist and therefore may experience major fluctuations in population numbers following disturbance events (CALM 2005).

Population 1 is recorded for Shannon National Park but as surveys have failed to relocate this population and it is thought the original location may have been incorrectly recorded no management actions have been identified for this population. Population 2 does not occur within the conservation reserve system and may be subject to roadside maintenance or other disturbance activities.

The Ironstone Brachyscias is endemic to ironstone soils in the Busselton region. It grows in winter-wet clay over ironstone in open to tall shrubland. Local groundwater and/or catchment flows on the surface are important for maintaining the wetland habitat (Luu & English 2004).

Species associated with the Ironstone Brachyscias include: Kunzea rostrata, Pericalymma ellipticum, Acacia stenoptera, Hakea varia, Hemiandra pungens, Viminaria juncea, Aphelia cyperoides, Centrolepis aristata, Borya scirpoidea, Caladenia marginata, Caustis dioica, Centrolepis drummondiana, Dampiera linearis, Drosera glanduligera, Drosera rosulata, Desmocladus fasciculata, Loxocarya magna, Phyllangium paradoxum, Opercularia vaginata, Philydrella pygmaea, Utricularia multifida, Schoenus odontocarpus, Stylidium calcaratum, Thelymitra antennifera and Thysanotus thyrsoideus (CALM 2005; Luu & English 2004).

The wetland habitat may be considered as `refugial', as the ironstone sites are some of the wettest in the area (CALM 2005).

Populations 2a and 2b are located within an occurrence of the `Shrublands on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstones' (Busselton area) Threatened Ecological Community which is currently ranked as Critically Endangered in Western Australia (CALM 2005) and as Endangered under the EPBC Act.

The Ironstone Brachyscias flowers in November and sets fruit in early December and above ground parts disappear shortly afterwards. Conditions for flowering and fruiting are unknown. Pollination mechanism is also unknown. It is likely to be insect pollinated since wind pollination would not be an efficient medium as the height of the plant would not allow maximum wind capture. Although not confirmed, observations suggest the species responds to disturbance and fire may be a prompt to end seed dormancy and initiate germination (CALM 2005).

Ironstone Brachyscias is similar to B. chlaenosciadium but differs in that it is smaller in all parts, is entirely glabrous, has leaves ternately divided; the involucral bracts and bracteoles are foliaceous and without extra bracts around the flowers between the rays; the nectaries are adnate to styles; and fruit has an undulated surface (Luu & English 2004).

Surveying for the Ironstone Brachyscias would be most efficient during the flowering season of November to early December. Surveys should be focusing on similar soil types (CALM 2005).

Firebreak maintenance and activities that promote the establishment of weeds are the major threat to the Ironstone Brachyscias (CALM 2005).

The species is an annual and germinates following disturbance. It is not certain how long-lived the soil-stored seed is, but without germination the seed in the soil will not be replenished. Inappropriate fire regimes are likely to effect seed production and viability (CALM 2005).

Due to the wet soil requirements of the Ironstone Brachyscias, drought, including drought induced by climate change, could potentially have a significant impact on populations (CALM 2005).

A recent IRP has been prepared for the Ironstone Brachyscias and it describes the following recovery actions (CALM 2005; Luu & English 2004);

  • Land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the species and have been notified and advised of their legislative responsibilities to protect the plants. Legislative protection under the 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 habitat.
  • Aerial spraying of phosphite for the control of Phytopthera has been undertaken in the Busselton Ironstone habitat and will be repeated every second year.
  • Disease hygiene measures are implemented in the habitat of Population 2, including limiting vehicle access to tracks.
  • The ironstone area containing Population 2b has been fenced by the land owners to protect the habitat.
  • A fire response strategy for areas containing the Ironstone Brachyscias has been prepared and incorporated into CALM Blackwood District's Fire Control Working Plan.
  • A brochure about the values of Abba Plains vegetation has also been produced by local catchment group Geocatch with Departmental assistance, in support of landholders protecting remnant vegetation on their land.

There have been two collections of the Ironstone Brachyscias seed and these are stored in CALM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre at 18°C (TFSC 2005).

Staff from CALM's Blackwood District monitor populations of this species.

Future threat abatement strategies may include (Luu & English 2004);

  • Mapping of the species critical habitat,
  • Stimulate the germination of soil-stored seed with trials involving burning, smoke-water and soil disturbance,
  • Additional collection of seed,
  • Install declared rare flora markers along firebreaks,
  • Maintain disease hygiene in particular for Phytophthora sp.,
  • Undertake weed control in consultation with land managers,
  • Monitor the population, habitat degradation, weed invasion, population stability, pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation,
  • Control rabbit population,
  • Obtain biological and ecological information such as soil seed bank dynamics and the role of various disturbances, pollination biology, reproductive strategies, levels of genetic diversity, impact of salinity and the impacts of dieback disease.

The taxonomy of this species was first described by Hart & Henwood (1999).

Key management documentation for the species include;

  • Ironstone Brachyscias (Brachyscias verecundus) Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009 (Luu & English 2004).

  • Shrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstone (Busselton Area) (Southern Ironstone Association) Interim Recovery Plan 1999-2002 (English 1999).

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 Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [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 Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zk) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ch) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Species Stresses:unspecified Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zk) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Brachyscias verecundus (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zk) [Conservation Advice].

CALM (2004a). Naturebase Website. [Online]. Perth Western Australia. Available from: http://www.naturebase.net/plants_animals/watscu/pdf/tec/endorsed_tec_list_jan04.pdf.

English, V. (1999c). Shrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstone (Busselton Area) (Southern Ironstone Association) Interim recovery Plan 1999 - 2002. Shrublands on southern Swan Coastal Plain ironstones in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=23.

Gibson, N., B.J. Keighery, G.J. Keighery, A.H. Burbidge & M N. Lyons (1994). A floristic Survey of the Southern Swan Coastal Plain. Wannero: unpublished report for the Australian Heritage Commission prepared by Department of Conservation and Land Management, and the Conservation Council of Western Australia (Inc.).

Hart, J. & M. Henwood (1999). Brachyscias (Apiaceae): a New Genus from South-west Western Australia.:175-179.

Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) (2005). Records held in the Department of Conservation and Land Management's Threatened Flora Seed Centre database. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2004b). Interim Recovery Plan. No. 174. Ironstone Brachyscias (Brachyscias verecundus) Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009. [Online]. Available from: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/pdf/plants_animals/threatened_species/irps/flora/bra_ver_irp174.pdf.

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/.

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). Brachyscias verecundus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 2 Sep 2014 17:36:32 +1000.