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 Veronica ciliolata
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adl) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008ady) [Listing Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the species occurs entirely within a managed National Park, therefore the approved Conservation Advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats (14/11/2008).
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 (59) (14/11/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008m) [Legislative Instrument] as Chionohebe ciliolata.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (87) (23/09/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009i) [Legislative Instrument] as Veronica ciliolata.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Listing Statement for Chionohebe ciliolata (benlomond cushionplant) (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2008a) [State Species Management Plan].
Scientific name Veronica ciliolata [83205]
Family Scrophulariaceae:Scrophulariales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (Hook.f.) Cheeseman
Infraspecies author  
Reference Cheeseman, T.F., (1906) Manual of the New Zealand Flora Edn. 1: 540 [comb. nov.]
Other names Chionohebe ciliolata [18142]
Pygmea ciliolata [4282]
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

Tasmania: At the subspecies level, Veronica ciliolata subsp. fiordensis is listed as Vulnerable under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

Scientific name: Chionohebe ciliolata (Hook.f.) B.G.Briggs & Ehrend., Contr. Herb. Austral. 25: 2 (1976)

Common name: Ciliolate Hebe
Wagstaff and Garnock-Jones (2000) consider that Ciliolate Hebe has New Zealand ancestry and has subsequently dispersed to Australia (Tasmania only). At the time of its discovery in the early 1970s, Ciliolate Hebe were placed in the taxon Chionohebe ciliolata var. fiordensis Ashwin (Ratkowsky & Ratkowsky 1974), a taxon known only from the Fiordland mountains in New Zealand's South Island (Allan 1982). More recently, Heads (1994) has noted that the distinctions between the three New Zealand varieties of Chionohebe ciliolata (Allan 1982) are not clear-cut. Comparative studies of Chionohebe ciliolata populations in Australia and New Zealand are currently being undertaken by researchers at New Zealand's Te Papa Museum in an effort to resolve these varietal issues (Museum of New Zealand 2008).

Ciliolate Hebe is a cushion-forming plant in the Scrophulariaceae family. It forms dense, compact cushions usually 30–40 cm in diameter. The cushions are usually tightly compacted and rather rigid, 2–4 cm high, and branchlets 4–5 mm diameter.

Ciliolate Hebe has small white flowers and light green foliage. Its leaves are 4 mm long and 2 mm wide, with small tuft of hairs at their ends. The leaves are stiffly imbricate, usually yellowish and glossy on back when old, narrow-ovate to ovate-spathulate, subacute to acute, and hairy to the base but hairs often few and appressed near tip except for a prominent apical tuft. The calyx is 3–4 mm long, divided two-thirds of the way into 5 to 6 linear lobes. The lobes are hairy for most of their length on their outer surface as well as the margins. The corolla is 6–7 mm long and white, with obtuse lobes. The capsule is roughly 2 mm by 2 mm, and glabrous or hairy at apex (Allan 1982; Davies & Davies 1989).

Ciliolate Hebe is restricted to Tasmania, where it is known from a small area on the Ben Lomond plateau in the State's north-east. The linear extent of the species is less than 800 m (TSS 2008a).

The extent of occurrence for Ciliolate hebe is 0.17 km² (TSS 2008a).

The species area of occupancy is 0.03–0.04 km² (TSS 2008a).

The species is only known from one location; the Hamilton Crags on Tasmania's Ben Lomond plateau (TSS 2008a).

The species occurs in New Zealand and Tasmania (Ratkowsky & Ratkowsky 1974; Wagstaff & Garnock-Jones 2000).

Allan (1982) describes the distribution of Ciliolate hebe in New Zealand as 'Subalpine fellfield and bare rocky places from N.W. Nelson to Fiordland, along and west of divide, rather local'. The species is not considered to be under threat in New Zealand (Hitchmough 2002).

The presence of Ciliolate Hebe in Tasmania was first noted in the early 1970s, from the Ben Lomond plateau (Ratkowsky & Ratkowsky 1974). The Ben Lomond plateau and other alpine areas in north-eastern Tasmania have been subject to intensive botanical surveys in the period since (Davies & Davies 1989, 1990), with more recent targeted surveys for the species in 2005 (TSS n.d., unpubl). Given the degree of past survey effort, the likelihood of further Ciliolate Hebe populations being discovered is low (TSS 2008a).

Total population size is estimated to be 1500–2000 mature individuals (TSS n.d., unpubl).

Based on the species' life form, extreme fluctuations in population size would not be expected.

An alpine species such as Ciliolate Hebe might be expected to have a lifespan in the order of decades, though any estimate of generation length remains speculative.

All populations are considered important for the species' long-term survival and recovery.

The known Ciliolate Hebe population in Tasmania occurs entirely within the 18 000 ha Ben Lomond National Park (Parks & Wildlife Service 1998).

Management within Ben Lomond National Park has been split into two zones (Parks & Wildlife Service 1998); a 'natural zone' managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS), and a 'skifield development area zone' managed by the Ben Lomond Skifield Management Authority (under the Ben Lomond Skifield Management Authority Act 1994).

Areas known to support Ciliolate Hebe have been included in the natural zone (Parks and Wildlife Service 1998), with this zone's management objectives being to:

  • Preserve environmental features and processes in a substantially unaltered and undisturbed condition.
  • Use the Zone as a benchmark against which areas subject to development and concentrated use can be monitored.
  • Consistent with the foregoing, allow a range of compatible tourism and recreational activities.

It is PWS policy to limit facilities in the 'natural zone' above 1240 m above sea level to signs and marked walking tracks or cross-country skiing routes (Parks & Wildlife Service 1998).

Ciliolate Hebe occurs in low open alpine shrubland on the Ben Lomond plateau at altitudes of 1470–1530 m asl. The species grows on skeletal soils derived from Jurassic dolerite, or in rock crevices and between boulders where no obvious soil exists (Davies & Davies 1989; Kirkpatrick 1997).
Species that are associated with Ciliolate Hebe include the grasses Poa costiniana and Deyeuxia monticola, and the herbs Chionogentias sp., Ewartia catipes and Oreomyrrhis sp. (Davies & Davies 1989). Plants that have been observed growing within Ciliolate hebe cushions include the Ericaceous Gaultheria depressa and the fern ally Lycopodium fastigiatum (TSS 2008a).

Flowering of Ciliolate Hebe occurs from December to February (TSS 2008a). Wagstaff and Garnock-Jones (2000) note that species of Chionohebe (including C. ciliolata) are 'obligate outcrossers with dioecious flowers and an entomophilous breeding system' (pollinated by insects).

Ciliolate Hebe is the only Scrophulariaceous species in Tasmania to adopt a cushion-like form. The floral and leaf features of Ciliolate Hebe readily distinguish it from the two other cushion plants likely to be encountered on the Ben Lomond plateau, Abrotanella forsteroides and Pterygopappus lawrencei of the family Asteraceous (Curtis 1963; Davies & Davies 1989; Kirkpatrick 1997). Habitat can also be a useful guide: Ciliolate Hebe prefers well-drained conditions, whereas the other two species grow in areas that are very poorly drained (TSS 2008a).

Surveys should be undertaken during the taxon's peak flowering period, December–February, targeting well-drained rocky areas in Tasmania's north-eastern alpine zone.

Ciliolate Hebe occurs entirely within the Ben Lomond National Park. The Park is recognised as being an invaluable reserve for the conservation of alpine flora communities, but it is also the main focus of downhill skiing in Tasmania (Parks & Wildlife Service 1998).

The species grows on a rocky ridge 200–300 m east of a designated 'skifield development area zone' (Parks & Wildlife Service 1998). The greatest potential future threat to the species would appear to lie in expansions to the skifield area and other inappropriate development of the Ben Lomond plateau. Ciliolate Hebe has a very restricted area of occupancy, thus exposing the species to the effects of human activities or stochastic events (TSS 2008a).

Minister's reason for Recovery Plan decision:

Ciliolate Hebe occurs entirely within a managed National Park. Therefore the approved Conservation Advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats. A recovery plan is not considered to be necessary at this time.

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008adl) recommend the following local and regional priority recovery and threat abatement actions:

  • Careful management of recreational activities in the species' habitat such as skiing and bushwalking.

  • Avoiding development or disturbance in the species' habitat.

    Recovery actions required to ensure the long term survival of the species include (TSS 2008a):

  • Measures to prevent damage from recreational activities on the Ben Lomond plateau, such as the development of walking and ski tracks.

  • Monitoring to determine population trends, the species' life history attributes, and the impact of threats.

  • The collection of seed for long-term conservation storage as part of the Millennium Seedbank (SeedSafe) Conservation Project.

    The responsible agencies are the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Biodiversity Conservation Branch, DPIWE, Hobart.

  • 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:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adl) [Conservation Advice].
    Commonwealth Listing Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008ady) [Listing Advice].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adl) [Conservation Advice].
    Commonwealth Listing Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008ady) [Listing Advice].
    Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adl) [Conservation Advice].
    Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adl) [Conservation Advice].
    Residential and Commercial Development:Commercial and Industrial Areas:Recreational, commercial and industrial development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008ady) [Listing Advice].

    Allan, H.H. (1982). Flora of New Zealand, Volume 1. Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Curtis, W.M. (1963). The Student's flora of Tasmania. Part 2. Angiospermae: Lythraceae to Epacridaceae. Hobart: Government Printer.

    Davies, J.B. & M.J. Davies (1989). Plant Communities of the Ben Lomond Plateau, Occasional paper number 1. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania.

    Davies, J.B. & M.J. Davies (1990). Plant communities of Mt Barrow and Mt Barrow Falls, Occasional paper number 2. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania.

    Heads, M.J. (1994). Biogeography and evolution in the Hebe complex (Scrophulariaceae): Leonohebe and Chionohebe. Candolleana. 49:81-119.

    Hitchmough, R. (2002). New Zealand Threat Classification System lists-2002. In: Threatened Species Occasional Publication 23. Biodiversity Recovery Unit, Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Kirkpatrick, J.B. (1997). Alpine Tasmania: an illustrated guide to the flora and vegetation. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

    Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa (2008). Biogeography and Evolutionary Relationships of Chionohebe - Heidi Meudt. Collections and Research. [Online]. Available from:

    Parks and Wildlife Service (1998). Ben Lomond National Park Management Plan. Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Hobart.

    Ratkowksy, D. & A. Ratkowksy (1974). New plant discoveries in Tasmania. Australian Plants. 7:384-386.

    Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008adl). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Chionohebe ciliolata. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

    Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2008a). Listing Statement for Chionohebe ciliolata (benlomond cushionplant). [Online]. Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania. Available from:$FILE/Chionohebe%20ciliolata%20listing%20statement.pdf.

    Threatened Species Section (TSS) (no date). Unpublished data held by the Threatened Species Section. Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE), Hobart.

    Wagstaff, S.J. & P.J. Garnock-Jones (2000). Patterns of diversification in Chionohebe and Parahebe (Scrophulariaceae) inferred from ITS sequences. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 38:389-407.

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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). Veronica ciliolata in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:30:29 +1000.