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 Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003x) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2006jo) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities of Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009) [Recovery Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
 
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 (48) (10/11/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006b) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
Scientific name Prasophyllum murfetii [81621]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Jones, D.L. (2000) Ten new species of Prasophyllum (Orchidaceae) from south-eastern Australia. The Orchadian 13(4): 160-161, Fig. 5 Type: Australia. South Australia: Hammond Road Swamp, Hindmarsh Tiers, 31 Dec. 1995, D.E.Murfet 2343c & R.L.Taplin (holo:
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: Prasophyllum murfetii

Common name: Fleurieu Leek Orchid

Prior to a taxonomic revision in 2000 (Jones 2000), the Fleurieu Leek Orchid was included with the Maroon Leek-orchid (Prasophyllum frenchii). However, a taxonomic revision in 2000 concluded that some South Australian populations formerly referred to as Prasophyllum frenchii are now regarded as distinct at the species level as Prasophyllum murfetii (Jones 2006; TSSC 2006jo).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid is a tall terrestrial orchid with a single, erect dark-green cylindrical leaf. The flowers occur on small stalks (6–12 cm long), emerging from the unbranched flowering stem which itself grows to 80 cm in height (Jones 2006). Groups of 15–35 flowers are arranged in dense to moderately dense clumps. The Fleurieu Leek Orchid has three sepals, two regular petals, and a third, greatly modified petal known as a labellum or lip (Jones 2006). The sepals usually function as protection for the petals while in bud stage (Jones 2000, 2006).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid's leaf tip withers as the flowers open. The flowers may be variously coloured from greenish-brown to white, with light to bright pink margins (Jones 2000, 2006). The sepals are obliquely erect with blunt tips. The dorsal (upper) sepal is 6.5–8 mm long and 3.5–4.5 mm wide. The lateral (side) sepals are longer but narrower, 7.5–9 mm long and 2–2.5 mm wide, and hang free (Jones 2006). The petals project forward, are smaller than the sepals, and are 6–7 mm long and 1.8 mm wide (Jones 2006). The labellum is broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate in shape, obliquely erect with a sharply recurved apex and is 5.5–6.5 mm long and 4–4.5 mm wide. The callus plate, a fleshy, raised and grooved plate-like structure found on the labellum, has a broad channel at the base and a broad thickened groove at the apex (Jones 2006).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid is endemic to the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia and is found at altitudes from 0–300 m above sea level (Jones 2006). The species occurs in the Mount Lofty Ranges and Greater Adelaide Natural Resource Management (NRM) region and the Flinders Lofty Block Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) region. The species has been recorded from three general areas (SA DEH 2005a):

  • the shores of Lake Alexandrina
  • Glenshera, Tooperang, Yundi and Nangkita swamps in the Mount Compass area
  • swamps around Parawa, near the southern tip of Fleurieu Peninsula.

Surveys in 2008 only relocated one subpopulation in Stipiturus Conservation Park (CP) in the Mt Compass area (Quarmby 2009 pers. comm. cited in SA DEH 2008d). Many of the formerly recorded subpopulations have not been relocated since the 1970s or 1980s. Most of the formerly recorded subpopulations were on private land that is now degraded (Quarmby 2009 pers. comm. cited in SA DEH 2008d).

The extent of occurrence of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid is estimated to be 730 km² (SA DEH 2005a) with an area of occupancy of less than 0.005 km² (TSSC 2006jo). The area of occupancy estimate represents 1% of the area of suitable swamp habitat that remains in good condition on the Fleurieu Peninsula (Duffield & Hill 2002; TSSC 2006jo).

Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula

Most of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid's records have been from the Swamps on the Fleurieu Peninsula Ecological Community. Although the condition and area of occupancy of these swamps has declined since European settlement, the geographical extent of the swamps remains unchanged, and there is no evidence to indicate a decline in the extent of occurrence of the species between 1995–2005 (SA DEH 2005a). While the area of occurrence encompasses swamps in the Tookayerta, Hindmarsh, Parawa, Myponga, Yankalilla, Onkaparinga, Currency Creek and Finniss catchment areas, the Fleurieu Leek Orchid has not been sighted in the Onkaparinga, Yankalilla or Myponga catchments (ADHERB 2005).

The listing of the Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula in 2003 as a Critically Endangered ecological community under the EPBC Act is likely to assist in preventing the decline of suitable habitat for the Fleurieu Leek Orchid. However, as several populations in the Mount Compass area are very small and severely fragmented, there is a risk of future declines in the extent of occurrence of the species (Prider 2005). Historically, swamps in good condition have declined by 75% (TSSC 2003x).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid's distribution is considered to be severely fragmented. Most individuals are found in very small isolated subpopulations separated by areas of unsuitable habitat. The fragmented distribution is partly a function of the fragmented occurrence of the swamp habitat of this species (TSSC 2003x).

There have been no surveys specifically targeting the Fleurieu Leek Orchid (Prider 2005).

Based on data available from known subpopulations, the total population size of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid is estimated to be 100–150 mature individuals. No more than 10 individuals have been counted from the 10–15 known locations (SA DEH 2005a). One of the subpopulations is presumed extinct at Tooperang (SA DEH 2005a), and many of the subpopulations have not been recorded since the 1970s or 1980s. The following table presents subpopulation information for the Fleurieu Leek Orchid:

Population number Location Year of collection/sighting Comments
1 Lake Alexandrina 1974, 1976 Near the mouth of the Finniss River (SA DEH 2005a). It is not known whether these collections are from the same subpopulation or whether they are extant (Strathalbyn Naturalists Club 2000).
2 Nangkita swamp 1968 This population comprised one plant in 1999 (Strathalbyn Naturalists Club 2000)
3 Tooperang swamp 1982 A single plant was recorded (SA DEH 2005a) and this population is presumed extinct following subdivision of the site in 1994 (SA DEH 2005a).
4 Yundi swamp 1978 Two herbarium collections were made (SA DEH 2005a) and it is unknown whether these collections were made from the same subpopulation or whether the subpopulation is extant (Prider 2005).
5 Glenshera swamp, Stipiturus CP 2001, 2008  
6 Hammond Road, Hindmarsh Tiers 2000  
7 Tunkalilla Creek, north of Eric Bonython CP 1985 In 1985, two subpopulations each contained ten plants (SA DEH 2005a).
8 10.1 km south-south-east Yankalilla 1987  
9 10.9 km east-south-east Delamere 1991  
10 Second Valley State Forest 1991 There may be two subpopulations at this location that contain three plants total (SA DEH 2005a).

Two of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid subpopulations occur in reserves (Stipiturus CP and Bonython CP), however, the species is not actively managed in these reserves (Prider 2005). One subpopulation occurs in Second Valey State Forest and the remaining subpopulations occur on private property.

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid occurs in swampy sites, in low-lying areas around the margins of permanent swamps or lakes (Bates & Weber 1990). It occurs on brown to black wet, peaty loam soils (Jones 2000). The climate in the Fleurieu region is Mediterranean with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The average annual rainfall ranges from 850 mm at Mount Compass, to 950 mm at Parawa, and is between 450–500 mm on the western shores of Lake Alexandrina (Bureau of Meteorology 2006). The species occurs at altitudes of 0–300 m above sea level (Jones 2000).

At Glenshera Swamp, plants grow in damp Leptospermum sp. thickets (ADHERB 2005). Overstorey species from survey records near Parawa include Wirilda (Acacia retinodes) and Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum continentale) (Armstrong et al. 2003). Other associated species include Juncus sp., sedges and rushes (SA DEH 2005a).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid flowers from November to January and is pollinated by the wasp Labium montivagum (SA DEH 2008d). There is no information on the generation length of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid, however Prasophyllum species are mature at five years and usually do not flower two years in succession (SA DEH 2005a).

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid was previously included with the Maroon Leek-orchid (Prasophyllum frenchii). It can be distinguished from this closely related species on the basis of flower shape and other floral features (Jones 2006).

Most of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid subpopulations occur on private property, where they are subject to continuing threats which may include grazing, weeds, draining of swamps and groundwater extraction (Prider 2005). Protection of the Fleurieu Peninsula swamps under the EPBC Act may limit adverse impacts on the species (TSSC 2003x). The following table presents threats to the Fleurieu Leek Orchid:

Threat Risk Details
Altered hydrology Very high

Changed hydrology and drying of the swamps of Fleurieu Peninsula can impact the Fleurieu Leek Orchid, especially when the swamps are dry during the flowering season (November–January) (Bates & Weber 1990; Prider 2005). Actions that can significantly alter swamp hydrology include dam construction, swamp drainage, groundwater extraction and plantation forestry (Duffield & Hill 2002). Also, sand mining can reduce the capacity of aquifers and impact the extent and duration of flooding within swamps (Prider 2005).

Stock trampling High Heavy trampling by domestic stock can pug and compact wet soils resulting in poor infiltration of water, a reduction in plant growth and a loss of soil structure (Duffield & Hill 2002). Stock may also trample or graze plants (Prider 2005).
Habitat degradation  Moderate

Habitat loss through clearance, draining, grazing, slashing or burning of swamps has resulted in the fragmentation of remaining intact swamps and a reduction in suitable habitat (Duffield & Hill 2002). Land management alteration can lead to weed invasion (e.g. Melaleuca sp.). In addition, vegetation clearance in catchments may increase run-off resulting in erosion of stream banks and the loss of alluvial soils (Prider 2005).

Stochastic events Moderate  Individual subpopulations of Fleurieu Leek Orchids are susceptible to catastrophic events due to their isolation in small remnants of native vegetation. Such threats may include fire regime change, disease, severe drought or flood scouring (Prider 2005).

Regional Recovery Plan for Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges

The Fleurieu Leek Orchid is included in the Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities of Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia (Willson & Bignall 2009). This plan addresses threat management in the context of broad vegetation groups (Willson & Bignall 2009). The Fleurieu Leek Orchid is classed under the Wetland vegetation group which is a vegetation community identified as high priority for recovery (Willson & Bignall 2009). As a result, conservation investment may be targeted at the Wetland group (rather than lower priority groups within the regional recovery plans area) (Willson & Bignall 2009).

The plan generally addresses key threats to a range of endangered species in the region, such as: trampling, grazing (by stock, kangaroos and rabbits), weed invasion, inappropriate fire management regimes, incompatible managment and water management issues (Willson & Bignall 2009). There are no specific measures to address threats to the Fleurieu Leek Orchid, but, as it occurs in the high priority Wetland vegetation group, actions to recover this area should benefit the orchid (Willson & Bignall 2009).

Actions underway

There are numerous recovery actions underway for the conservation and management of the Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula. These programs are co-ordinated by the Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren Recovery Program and could potentially benefit the Fleurieu Leek Orchid. However, these programs do not specifically address the conservation and management of the Fleurieu Leek Orchid, and it is not known what impact recovery actions for swamps will have on the species (Prider 2005).

Commonwealth Conservation Advice

Refer to the Commonwealth Conservation Advice (TSSC 2008age) for information on research priorities and recovery priority actions to mitigate threats including habitat loss, disturbance and modification, trampling, grazing and fire. Raising awareness of the species and enabling recovery of additional populations are also encouraged in the Advice.

Management documents for the Fleurieu Leek-orchid (Prasophyllum murfetii) can be found at the start of this 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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat alteration (vegetation, soil, hydrology) due to trampling and grazing by livestock Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Wood and Pulp Plantations:Habitat destruction due to forestry activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Illegal collection Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Melaleuca uncinata (Broom Honey-myrtle, Broombush) Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by kangaroos and wallabies Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Activities that lead to swamp degradation Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology including construction of dams/barriers Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008age) [Conservation Advice].
Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].

Armstrong, D.M., S.J. Croft & J.N. Foulkes (2003). A Biological Survey of the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges 2000-2001. Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia.

Bates, R.J. & J.Z. Weber (1990). Orchids of South Australia. Adelaide: Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee.

Bureau of Meteorology (2006). Climate Averages. [Online]. Available from: http://www.bom.gov.au/.

Duffield, R. & B. Hill (2002). Swamp Management Guidelines for the Fleurieu Peninsula. Adelaide: Conservation Council of South Australia.

Jones, D.L. (2000). Ten New Species of Prasophyllum R.Br. (Orchidaceae) from South-eastern Australia. The Orchadian. 13(4):149-173.

Jones, D.L. (2006). A complete guide to Native Orchids of Australia, including the island Territories. Sydney, NSW: New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Prider, J. (2005). Species Information Sheet - Prasophyllum murfetii. Report to the Deparptment of Environment and Heritage, Canberra. Ecological Associates.

South Australia Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH) (2005a). SA DEH databases comprising of the Opportune Database, Plant Population Database, Reserves Database, Roadside Vegetation Database and Survey Database. Adelaide, South Australia: Department of Environment and Heritage.

South Australia Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH) (2008d). Prasophyllum murfetii. Willson, A. & J. Bignall, eds. Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities of Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia. Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Threatened Species Profile. Adelaide, SA: DEH.

State Herbarium of South Australia, Adelaide (ADHERB) (2005). ADHERB Database.

Strathalbyn Naturalists Club (2000). Natural History of Strathalbyn and Goolwa Districts. Goolwa, South Australia: Strathalbyn Naturalists Club.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2003x). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/fleurieu-swamps.html.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2006jo). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/e1313d47-f97c-4f47-a643-4731426263ca/files/prasophyllum-murfetii-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008age). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum murfetii. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/81621-conservation-advice.pdf.

Willson, A. & J. Bignall (2009). Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities of Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia. [Online]. Adelaide, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/adelaide-and-mount-lofty-ranges.html.

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). Prasophyllum murfetii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:31:44 +1000.