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 Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cf) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, "a Tasmanian Government regional multi-species recovery plan incorporates this species. Combined with the approved conservation advice for this species, there is sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats (20/10/2009)".
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [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 (81) (20/10/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009g) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014aq) [State Action Plan].
TAS:Prasophyllum atratum - Profile (Threatened Species Section (TSS), n.d.a) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Flowering Times of Tasmanian Orchids: A Practical Guide for Field Botanists (Wapstra, M., N. Roberts, H. Wapstra & A. Wapstra, 2008) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012)
Scientific name Prasophyllum atratum [82677]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones & D.T.Rouse
Infraspecies author  
Reference Jones, D.L. & Rouse, D.T. (2006) Australian Orchid Research 5: 144-145, Fig. 5.2
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 atratum

Common name: Three Hummock Leek-orchid

The species is conventionally accepted as Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Jones 2006). It was previously considered to belong to Prasophyllum pyriforme (Graceful Leek-orchid) which is no longer recognised as occurring in Tasmania (Jones 2006).

The Three Hummock Leek-orchid is a small, fleshy, terrestrial orchid with a solitary erect leaf that is 12–40 cm long and 3–5 mm wide. Flowers are widely spaced to moderately dense along a flower spike 15–30 cm tall. Flowers are brownish-green to purplish-green in colour with a dark purple labellum, 4.5–5.5 mm long that is broad at its base, constricted and sharply recurved near the middle and has a tapered point. The other petals and the sepals are 5–7 mm long (Jones 2006; Jones & Rouse 2006).

The Three Hummock Leek-orchid has been recorded at one location beside the 'Telecom' airstrip on Three Hummock Island, 20 km north-west of Tasmania. The area of occupancy for the Three Hummock Leek-orchid has been estimated to be less than 1 km² (Tas. DPIWE 2000). The species is located within the North West Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2009ce).

There are insufficient data to determine historic or current population trends for the Three Hummock Leek-orchid. The Three Hummock Leek-orchid is known from one population. Some decline may have occurred in this population as approximately 70 individuals were recorded in 1999 (Tas. DPIWE 2000) and 43 were recorded in 2006 (Tas. DPIW 2006a). However, studies on the related Gaping Leek-orchid (P. correctum) indicate that plants may not appear every year, and may survive below ground in a dormant state for up to five years (Coates et al. 1999), therefore the fewer number of individuals counted in 2006 may be a result of dormancy rather than decline.

A survey in November 2008 revealed between 500 and 1000 mature individuals are present over an area of approximately 8.5 ha, and an additional individual beside the road around 240 m south of the airstrip (DPIW data, cited in TSS n.d.a).

The species has specific habitat requirements, occurring in sedgy heathland on grey sandy loam, which has not been recorded anywhere else in Tasmania (Harris & Kitchener 2005; Jones & Rouse 2006), resulting in the species occurring in a unique island habitat. Given its narrow habitat requirements it has a limited capacity for dispersal (TSSC 2009ce).

The flowering period for this species is from October–November (Jones & Rouse 2006). The species may require disturbance to stimulate emergence and flowering and is currently only found in areas that are slashed or burned regularly. Studies on the related Gaping Leek-orchid indicate that plants may not appear every year, and may survive below ground in a dormant state for up to five years (Coates et al. 1999). Orchids, including the Three Hummock Leek-orchid, have a complex and poorly understood interrelationship with species-specific mycorrhizal fungi and insect pollinators (Jones et al. 1999). Native bees, wasps and beetles are known to be effective pollinators for other Prasophyllum species, while some species can also be self-pollinating (Jones et al. 1999). Leek-orchids are not known to reproduce vegetatively and recruitment is from seed (TSSC 2009ce).

The main threats to the Three Hummock Leek-orchid are inappropriate airstrip maintenance activities and inappropriate disturbance.

Inappropriate airstrip maintenance
Regular slashing and associated burning on the airstrip may have been beneficial to this species to date by allowing regular emergence and setting of seed. However, activities to upgrade and maintain the airstrip could adversely affect the species should the requirements of the species not be taken into consideration (TSSC 2009ce).

Inappropriate disturbance
Long periods without disturbance may lead to prolonged dormancy with increased risk of mortality through depletion of stores in underground tubers. Conversely, burning too frequently (e.g. annually) may adversely affect mycorrhizal fungi communities, rendering the site unsuitable for fungal-dependent orchid species (Brundrett 2007), including the Three Hummock Leek-orchid. Slashing or burning at the wrong time of year can damage plants and prevent seed from being produced and, while the population may be able to sustain limited damage from this threat, it may not be able to do so if the damage is regular or in combination with other threats, such as prolonged drought (TSSC 2009ce).

Potential threats
Potential threats include the loss of pollinators and mycorrhizal fungi. The Three Hummock Leek-orchid has a very small population which may lead to inbreeding problems and increase the species' susceptibility to stochastic events. The small size of the population may also be insufficient to sustain pollinators and associated mycorrhizal fungi (TSSC 2009ce).

Climate change is a potential threat as changes in the rainfall pattern may lead to the habitat becoming unsuitable for the species, associated pollinators and mycorrhizal fungi (TSSC 2009ce).

Minister's reasons for recovery plan decision
A Tasmanian Government regional multi-species recovery plan incorporates this species. Combined with the approved conservation advice for this species, there is sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats. A national recovery plan is not considered to be necessary at this time (2009).

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (TSSC 2009cf) outlines the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program with more frequent surveys or, if appropriate, support and enhance existing programs.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Develop a better understanding of life history, disturbance ecology and identification of pollinators; and the implications of these for management.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat, preferably during the October-November flowering period, to locate any additional populations/ occurrences/remnants.
  • Undertake seed germination and/or vegetative propagation trials to determine the requirements for successful establishment, including mycorrhizal association trials.
  • Identify appropriate intensity and interval of fire to promote seed germination and vegetation regeneration.
  • Develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for the Three Hummock Leek-orchid.

In addition, the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (TSSC 2009cf) outlines the following priority actions:

  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Ensure airstrip activities and maintenance activities involving substrate or vegetation disturbance in areas where the Three Hummock Leek-orchid occurs do not adversely impact on known populations.
  • Manage any disruptions to water flows.
  • Manage any other known, potential or emerging threats including inappropriate disturbance, loss of pollinators and effects of climate change.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations/occurrences/remnants.
  • Minimise adverse impacts from land use at known sites.
  • Protect populations of the listed species through the development of conservation agreements and/or covenants with airport owners.
  • Raise awareness of the Three Hummock Leek-orchid within the local community.
  • Frequently engage with private landholders and land managers responsible for the land on which populations occur and encourage these key stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of conservation management actions.
  • Undertake appropriate seed and mycorrhizal fungi collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.
  • Implement national translocation protocols (Vallee et al. 2004) if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible.

The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water has developed the Flora Recovery Plan: Threatened Tasmanian Orchids 2006-2010 (TSS 2006a). In this plan, the species (under the name of Prasophyllum pyriforme) is a priority population for recovery actions to be implemented. It recommends appropriate disturbance, monitoring, survey, storage of seed and fungi, and increased awareness.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (TSSC 2009cf) provides a brief biological overview and management recommendations. In addition, the Flora Recovery Plan: Threatened Tasmanian Orchids 2006-10 (TSS 2006a) is available.

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
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Reduced rainfall caused by climate change Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Commercial and Industrial Areas:Recreational, commercial and industrial development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ce) [Listing Advice].

Brundrett, M.C. (2007). Scientific approaches to Australian temperate terrestrial orchid conservation. Australian Journal of Botany. 55:293-307.

Coates, E., I. Lunt & H. Wapstra (1999). Draft Recovery Plan 2000-2003 Prasophyllum correctum (Gaping leek-orchid). Unpublished report to Environment Australia. Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University.

Harris, S. & A. Kitchener (2005). From Forest to Fjaeldmark: Descriptions of Tasmania's Vegetation. Hobart, Tasmania: Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

Jones, D., H. Wapstra, P. Tonelli & S. Harris (1999). The Orchids of Tasmania. Carlton South, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.

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

Jones, D.L. & D.T. Rouse (2006). Fourteen new species of Prasophyllum from eastern Australia. Australian Orchid Research. 5:143-156.

Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tas. DPIW) (2006a). Threatened Species Section (TSS) Field trip data (unpublished). Hobart, Tasmania: Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW).

Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and the Environment (Tas. DPIWE) (2000). Listing statement: Graceful leek orchid Prasophyllum pyriforme. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIWE.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009ce). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82677-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009cf). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Prasophyllum atratum (Three Hummock Leek-orchid). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82677-conservation-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2006a). Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010. [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIWE. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tasmanian-orchid.html.

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (n.d.a). Prasophyllum atratum - Profile. [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: Tas DPIWE. Available from: http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/LJEM-7QE3YH/$FILE/Prasophyllum%20atratum.pdf.

Vallee, L., T. Hogbin, L. Monks, B. Makinson, M. Matthes & M. Rossetto (2004). Guidelines for the translocation of threatened plants in Australia - Second Edition. Canberra, ACT: Australian Network for Plant Conservation.

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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). Prasophyllum atratum in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:00:00 +1000.