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 Endangered as Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii
Listing and Conservation Advices Approved Conservation Advice for Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii (dwarf mountain pine) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014am) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the 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 Microstrobos fitzgeraldii.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii.
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list) as Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii [40324]
Family Podocarpaceae:Pinales:Pinatae:Pinophyta:Plantae
Species author (F.Muell.) J.D.Hook.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Hooker's Icones Plantarum 14 (Jun. 1882) t. 1383
Other names Microstrobos fitzgeraldii [17444]
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.

Other illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii

Common name: Dwarf Mountain Pine

Other names: Blue Mountains Dwarf Pine

The Dwarf Mountain Pine is an erect shrub up to 1 m high and 2 m in diameter, with drooping, or sometimes straggling, branches (Harden 1990).

The Dwarf Mountain Pine is a relic species which once enjoyed a wider distribution, probably during wetter, less fire-prone, periods (Leigh & Briggs 1992).

The species is found in six or seven locations along 8 km of cliffline between Wentworth Falls and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, 80 km west of Sydney, NSW (Leigh & Briggs 1992).

The Dwarf Mountain Pine is in cultivation at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra; Adelaide Botanic Gardens; Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, near Campbelltown, NSW; Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart; Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens, Blue Mountains, NSW; and Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney (CHABG 1992).

The total population of the Dwarf Mountain Pine is between 300 and 455 plants.

In 1981, populations listed by Smith (1981) were:

  • 92 plants at Wentworth Falls (i.e. the waterfall formed by the upper part of Jamison Creek);
  • 31 plants at the small unnamed waterfall 150 m west of Wentworth Falls;
  • 7 plants at the small unnamed waterfall 100 m west of Gordon Falls;
  • 41 plants at Leura Falls;
  • 12 plants at Katoomba Falls;
  • 20 plants at Bonnie Doon Falls.

In 1993, Jones (1993) mentioned seven populations with a total of 455 individuals. The first six of these are presumably the same as those of Smith (1981) cited above, the Nellies Glen population being additional:

  • 102 at Wentworth Falls;
  • 60 at West Wentworth Falls;
  • 20 at Little Gordon Falls;
  • 80 at Leura falls;
  • 55 at Katoomba Falls;
  • 110 at Bonnie Doon Falls;
  • 28 at Nellies Glen.

The Dwarf Mountain Pine occurs in the spray zone at the base of and on either side of mountain waterfalls (Leigh & Briggs 1992) between 600 and 900 m asl (Jones 1993). The species may also occur in overhangs and ledges that receive seepage, i.e. situations that are protected from fire and remain wet. The species is confined to sandstone (Harden 1990; Leigh & Briggs 1992).

The Dwarf Mountain Pine is dioecious (Harden 1990), with male and female flowers on different plants.

Weeds are the major threat to the Dwarf Mountain Pine (Jones 1993). Blackberry, Rubus ulmifolius,and Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus discolour, as well as Ivy, Hedera helix, Montbretia, Crocosmia sp., and Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, pose a threat to the Katoomba and Leura Falls populations (Jones 1993).

The species is also threatened by low water quality caused by pollution in the catchment (i.e. from sewage, sediment and garden nutrients). The Leura population was affected by an oil spill (Leigh & Briggs 1992).

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
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Rubus fruticosus aggregate (Blackberry, European Blackberry) Pherosphaera fitzgeraldiiin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006th) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Pherosphaera fitzgeraldiiin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006th) [Internet].
Pollution:Pollution:Deterioration of water and soil quality (contamination and pollution) Pherosphaera fitzgeraldiiin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006th) [Internet].

Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) (1992). Census of plants in botanic gardens. [Online]. Available from:

Harden, G.J. (ed) (1990). Flora of New South Wales. Volume One. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

Jones, W. (1993). The biology and management of the Dwarf Mountain Pine (Microstrobos fitzgeraldii) in NSW. Species Management Report 13 New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Environment and Climate Change, New South Wales.

Leigh, J.H. & J.D. Briggs (Eds) (1992). Threatened Australian Plants. Overview and Case Studies. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Smith, J. (1981). The distribution and conservation status of a rare conifer, Microstrobos fitzgeraldii (Podocarpaceae). Cunninghamia. 1(1):125-128.

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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). Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:48:30 +1000.