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 Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009af) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against threats (26/05/2009).
 
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 (77) (26/05/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009k) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Critically Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Hemigenia ramosissima [18568]
Family Lamiaceae:Lamiales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Benth.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Prodromus 12 (5 Nov. 1848) 565.
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
http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/6867

Scientific name: Hemigenia ramosissima

Common name: Branched Hemigenia

The species is conventionally accepted as Hemigenia ramosissima (Bentham 1848).

The Branched Hemigenia is a slender shrub that grows to 0.5 m in height. Leaves are about 1 cm long, in whorls of three, nearly stalkless, linear, with a blunt or pointed tip, and rather rigid (Phillimore & Brown 2003). The flowers are blue or purple, and the flowering period is from November to January (Western Australian Herbarium 2006).

The Branched Hemigenia is endemic to Western Australia, and is known from four subpopulations in the Arthur River Area, which is approximately 200 km south-east of Perth. The distance between subpopulation one and subpopulation two (the two naturally occurring subpopulations) is approximately 0.6 km. Subpopulations three and four are translocated populations and are approximately 16 km and 26 km south-east of subpopulations one and two (TSSC 2009ae). The species occurs on a nature reserve, water reserve and road verges and is located within the South West Natural Resource Management region (TSSC 2009ae).

The Branched Hemigenia has a very restricted geographic distribution. The extent of occurrence of the species is estimated to be 60 km² and its area of occupancy is less than 1 km². Prior to translocation, the species' extent of occurrence was less than 1km² (WA DEC 2008).

The geographic distribution of the Branched Hemigenia is highly fragmented and is confined to a specific soil type only within the Arthur River area, which has been extensively cleared for agriculture (WA CALM 2006b). This lack of suitable habitat surrounding the species' known area of occupancy limits the geographic distribution of the species (TSSC 2009ae).

The Branched Hemigenia was first collected by James Drummond over 150 years ago. However, the collection location and date were not listed, making surveying difficult, and it was not until a volunteer from the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation made a collection during an opportunistic survey in November 1996 that the species was seen again (Phillimore & Brown 2003).

The total population size of the species is approximately 340 mature plants and 430 seedlings (WA DEC 2008).

Two of the subpopulations (subpopulations three and four) are translocated populations, as a result of translocations that occurred in July 2007 and May 2008. In May 2008, subpopulation three contained approximately 170 seedlings and subpopulation four contained approximately 260 seedlings (WA DEC 2008).

The Branched Hemigenia occurs on grey, loamy clay in open mallee shrubland composed of Swamp Mallet (Eucalyptus spathulata) with an over heath composition of Broombush (Melaleuca uncinata) and M. acuminata (Phillimore & Brown 2003).

The following species are associated with the Branched Hemigenia (Phillimore & Brown 2003):

  • Anthotium humile
  • Austrostipa elegantissima
  • Borya sp.
  • Comesperma confertum
  • Meeboldina cana
  • Melaleuca lateriflora
  • Neurachne alopecuroidea
  • Ptilotus manglesii

The critical habitat for the Branched Hemigenia includes (Phillimore & Brown 2003):

  • area of occupancy of the known populations
  • areas of similar habitat within 200 m of known populations
  • remnant vegetation that surrounds and links populations
  • additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the species but may have done so in the past (these represent possible translocation sites)
  • local catchment for the surface and ground waters that provide the seasonal wetland habitat of the species.

Field observations have found that where lateral branches of Branched Hemigenia have been touching the ground for some time, several have produced roots at the point of contact. In one instance, the part of the branch between the main plant and the rooted plant of the lateral branch has withered and died to form a separate plant (B. Loudon pers. obs., cited in Phillimore & Brown 2003).

Flowering period occurs from late November till January (Phillimore & Brown 2003).

The main threats to the Branched Hemigenia are road and drain maintenance works, salinity and prolonged waterlogging, competition from weeds, inappropriate fire regimes, and powerline maintenance works (Phillimore & Brown 2003).

Road and drain maintenance
Road and drain maintenance has the potential to threaten both plants and habitat at subpopulation one. Threats include grading, construction of drainage channels and the mowing of roadside vegetation. Several of these actions also encourage weed invasion (TSSC 2009ae).

Salinity and prolonged waterlogging
Salinity and prolonged waterlogging has resulted from a rise in the water table following agricultural clearing. Subpopulations one and two occur in a seasonally wet/waterlogged area that is showing signs of increasing salinity, including the death of native vegetation and an increase in salt tolerant species such as Callistemon phoeniceus (Lesser Bottlebrush). Piezometers within a nearby reserve have recorded high salt levels (TSSC 2009ae).

Weeds
Weed invasion is a minor threat to subpopulation one which is partly located on a narrow road reserve. Weeds suppress early plant growth by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light. They also exacerbate grazing pressure and increase the fire hazard due to the easy ignition of high fuel loads, which are produced annually by many weed species (TSSC 2009ae).

Fire
Inappropriate fire regimes may affect the long term viability of the Branched Hemigenia. It is not known what the fire response of the species is, however, frequent fire would most likely destroy populations if it occurs before regenerating or juvenile plants have reached maturity, produced seed and replenished the soil seed bank. Conversely, infrequent fires may be required for the species to regenerate from soil stored seed and root stock (TSSC 2009ae).

Powerline maintenance
Powerline maintenance is a potential threat to subpopulation two. Such disturbance events may encourage weed invasion as well as causing damage to Branched Hemigenia plants (TSSC 2009ae).

A past threat to the Branched Hemigenia is land clearing. The clearing of land for agriculture has reduced the amount of suitable habitat for this species (TSSC 2009ae).

Minister's Reasons for Recovery Plan Decision
A recovery plan for this species is not considered to be necessary at this time as the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against threats (2009).

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (TSSC 2009af) outlines the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program for the species.
  • More precisely assess population size, geographic distribution and ecological requirements, including:
    • soil seed bank dynamics and the role of various disturbances (including fire), competition, rainfall and grazing in germination and recruitment
    • the pollination biology of the species, and the requirements of pollinators
    • the reproductive strategies, phenology and seasonal growth of the species
    • undertake genetic analyses to 1/ assess current gene flow (using markers and analyses capable of distinguishing population divergence on an evolutionary timescale, from that which might be due to more recent impacts), and 2/ identify populations with low genetic diversity that might benefit from artificial introduction of genetic material from other populations from which they have relatively recently diverged
    • the impact of salinity on the Branched Hemigenia and its habitat
  • Continue survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional subpopulations of the Branched Hemigenia. Surveys should ideally be undertaken during the species' main flowering period (late November to January).
  • Undertake seed germination and/or vegetative propagation trials to determine the requirement for successful establishment.

In addition, the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (TSSC 2009af) outlines the following priority actions:

  • Ensure road, drain and powerline maintenance activities, in areas where the Branched Hemigenia occurs, do not adversely impact on the known subpopulations.
  • Ensure chemicals or other mechanisms used to eradicate weeds do not have a significant adverse impact on the species.
  • Manage any changes to hydrology that may result in changes to water table levels and/or increased runoff, salinity or prolonged waterlogging.
  • Manage any disruptions to water flows.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Investigate formal conservation arrangements, management agreements and covenants on private land, and for crown and private land investigate inclusion in reserve tenure if possible.
  • Identify and remove weeds in the local area, which could become a threat to the Branched Hemigenia, using appropriate methods (e.g. hand weeding or localised application of herbicide with the approval of the land manager).
  • Manage sites to prevent introduction of invasive weeds, which could become a threat to the Branched Hemigenia, using appropriate methods.
  • Develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for the Branched Hemigenia.
  • Identify appropriate intensity and interval of fire to promote seed germination and/or vegetation regeneration.
  • Where appropriate provide information on known occurrences to local and state Rural Fire Services and seek inclusion of mitigative measures in bush fire risk management plan(s), risk register and/or operation maps.
  • Raise awareness of the Branched Hemigenia within the local community through site visits, signage (such as Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers), local print and electronic media, and fact sheets/information brochures (Phillimore & Brown 2003).
  • Maintain liaison with private landholders and land managers of land on which populations occur, including local electricity authorities.
  • Continue appropriate seed or germplasm collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.
  • Implement national translocation protocols if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible (Vallee et al. 2004).

The Interim Recovery Plan - Branched Hemigenia (Hemigenia Ramosissima) 2003–2008 (Phillimore & Brown 2003) outlines the following recovery actions, which have been or are currently implemented:

  • All land managers have been formally notified of the presence and threatened nature of populations of Branched Hemigenia on their lands.
  • DRF markers have been installed at one subpopulation.
  • Dashboard stickers and posters describing the significance of DRF markers have been produced and distributed.
  • Staff from the Threatened Flora Seed Centre collected a negligible amount of Branched Hemigenia seed in 2000. In February 2001, approximately 2011 seeds were collected and appropriately stored. The initial germination rate was found to be 45%.
  • Cuttings were taken in 2000 and sent to the Botanical Gardens and Plant Authority for propagation. The species appears to be difficult to propagate from cuttings with all materials collected dead.
  • A study of Hemigenia and Microcorys is being conducted by a PhD student from the Department of Environmental Biology at the University of Adelaide.
  • The Katanning District Threatened Flora Recovery Team is overseeing the implementation of the Interim Recovery Plan for the Branched Hemingenia and will include information on progress in its annual report.
  • Staff from the Department's Katanning District regularly monitor all populations of Branched Hemingenia.

Furthermore, the Interim Recovery Plan - Branched Hemigenia (Hemigenia Ramosissima) 2003–2008 (Phillimore & Brown 2003) outlines the following future recovery actions:

  • Coordinate recovery actions
  • Conduct further surveys
  • Undertake weed control
  • Collect seed and cutting material
  • Develop and implement a fire management strategy
  • Liaise with relevant land managers
  • Monitor populations
  • Promote awareness
  • Obtain biological and ecological information
  • Review the need for a full Recovery Plan

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (TSSC 2009af) provides a brief biological overview and management recommendation, in addition, the Interim Recovery Plan - Branched Hemigenia (Hemigenia Ramosissima) 2003–2008 (Phillimore & Brown 2003) 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:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [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 Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Invasion of habitat by salt tolerant plants Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes including flooding Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes in hydrology including habitat drainage Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009af) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Salinity Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009af) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Changes in hydrology leading to rising water tables and dryland salinity Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009af) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Habitat modification due to maintenance of water pipeline easement Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ae) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009af) [Conservation Advice].

Bentham, G. (1848). Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis.:565.

Phillimore, R. & A. Brown (2003). Branched Hemigenia (Hemigenia ramosissima) Interim Recovery Plan. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM. Available from: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/pdf/plants_animals/threatened_species/irps/hem_ram_irp125.pdf. [Accessed: 14-Aug-2009].

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009ae). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/18568-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009af). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Hemigenia ramosissima (Branched Hemigenia). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/18568-conservation-advice.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.

Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2006b). Records held in CALM's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2008). Records held in DEC's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA DEC.

Western Australian Herbarium (2006). Florabase - The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/.

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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). Hemigenia ramosissima in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:46:05 +1000.