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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006dc) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zb) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not 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].
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (44) (14/8/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006h) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Threatened flora of the Western Central Wheatbelt (Collins, J., 2009) [State Species Management Plan].
WA:Interim Recovery Plan. No. 279. Short-leaved Frankenia (Frankenia parvula) Interim Recovery Plan 2006-2011 (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2006e) [State Recovery Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Frankenia parvula [20872]
Family Frankeniaceae:Violales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Turcz.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Bulletin de la Societe Imperiale des Naturalistes de Moscou 27(2): 368 (1854)
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: Frankenia parvula (Turcz 1854).

Common name: Short-leaved Frankenia (Luu & Brown 2004; West Australian Herbarium 2005).

Other common names: Drummonds Frankenia (Harris 2004).

The Short-leaved Frankenia is a small shrub with creeping stems, and numerous short, upright branches. Its tiny leaves, 1.5 to 3 mm long, are stalked, narrowly oblong, circular in cross-section, slightly hairy on the upper surface and have curled under margins. The leaf sheath is half as long as the blade. Pink flowers on the ends of the branches may be solitary or in heads of 2 or 3. The thickly ribbed calyx has a mixture of spreading bristly hairs and short flat-lying hairs above, but is hairless below. The 5 petals are 5 to 6 mm long. There are 6 or 7 stamens and a style which has 3 branches. Eleven to 15 ovules are attached to the walls of the ovary (Brown et al. 1998).

The Short-leaved Frankenia is endemic to Western Australia. It was previously thought to be extinct but is now known from three locations in the central Wheatbelt, in an area approximately 150 to 400 km east of Perth (CALM 2005; WA Herbarium 2005).

The extent of occurrence is approximately 4000 km². There is little data to indicate a decline in the extent of occurrence of this species. Prior to its recent rediscovery it was only known from one historical collection (CALM 2005).

The Short-leaved Frankenia has a total area of occupancy of approximately 2 km² (CALM 2005).

  • Population 1: 200 ha
  • Population 2a: 0.25 ha
  • Population 2b:3.0 ha
  • Population 3: 5 m x 6 m

As the Short-leaved Frankenia has only recently been rediscovered, there is no long term data to indicate a decline in area of occupancy of this species (CALM 2005).

There are no translocated populations of the Short-leaved Frankenia. A limited amount of seed material has been collected and is currently stored at the West Australian Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC 2005). Some of this material may be made available should a translocation program be required in the future (CALM 2005).

This species was rediscovered by a CALM Research Botanist during a survey of the Mortlock River flats for a biological survey of the South West Agricultural Zone in 2000. After confirming the identity of the specimens, another two collections that had been made earlier but not identified as the Short-leaved Frankenia were also discovered at the West Australian Herbarium. These collections are now recorded as Population 1 (CALM 2005).

Since the species was rediscovered populations have been surveyed by staff from CALM. An additional population was located (Population 3) during 2003 as a result of a botanical survey aimed at locating additional populations of several species of rare flora in the CALM Merredin and Katanning districts (CALM 2005; WA Herbarium 2005). Several collections were also made near Kellerberrin and Kwyolin that are thought to be the species or a closely related species but are yet to be confirmed (CALM 2005).

The total population size for this species is estimated to be approximately 1164+ mature individuals (CALM 2005).

Short-leaved Frankenia is known from three populations. Populations 1 and 2 are approximately 250 km apart (CALM 2005).

The three known populations of the Short-leaved Frankenia are found in sandy rises near saline drainage lines and salt lake edges in the Avon catchment of the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. Its preferred habitat is white to brown sand over sandy clay around the high water mark of major drainage channels where it grows both independent of and within fringing vegetation (CALM 2005).

Population 1 occurs within an area of Crown Reserve that is surrounded by Nature Reserve, which together comprise 34 000 ha. Populations 2 and 3 occur in remnant vegetation on private property in a highly cleared area of the Western Australian Wheatbelt (CALM 2005; Shepherd et al. 2002).

This species grows within vegetation communities of Dwarf Scrub D or Open Dwarf Scrub D to Very Open Mat Plants over Very Open Herbs (according to Muir vegetation classification 1977).

This species grows in close association with halophytes predominately Halosarcia spp. and a few perennial or ephemeral species (Harris 2004) including low shrubland of Melaleuca thyoides over low samphires (Roycea pycnophylloides, Halosarcia sp., Sarcocornia sp.) (WA Herbarium 2005).
The flora species Roycea pycnophylloides, listed as rare in Western Australia, is found in the vicinity of Short-leaved Frankenia populations 2 and 3 (CALM 2005).

Recent research into the population characteristics of the Short-leaved Frankenia indicate that flowering can occur between October and late March when the fruits begin to mature. Flower and fruit production was varied and the proportion of fruit to flowers was relatively high although the percentage of viable seed was under 50% for the study. Juvenile plants were recorded for both populations 1 and 2. Short-leaved Frankenia fruit have a hard outer surface, which suggests that seeds are not immediately dehisced upon fruit maturity but may be held until conditions are favorable for germination (Harris 2004).

Inspection of the stem and root arrangement of these mat forming plants suggests that this species can recruit both sexually and vegetatively with the plants spreading clonally by the production of adventitious roots. Evidence of re-sprouting was also detected which suggests that this species may have the ability to recover from disturbance events (Harris 2004).

The Short-leaved Frankenia is difficult to distinguish from other species of Frankenia. Survey is best undertaken when plants are in full flower (November to December) (CALM 2005).

Any additional survey should be focused on remnant vegetation in similar soil and vegetation types (i.e. on sandy rises along saline drainage lines of the Avon catchment adjacent to Melaleuca halmaturorum or M. thyoides low shrublands over samphire) (CALM 2005).

Salinity and waterlogging are serious threats to the Short-leaved Frankenia. This species grows on the edge of sandy rises in naturally saline drainage lines and along the high water mark of salt lakes. It is also sometimes found across the pan of seasonal lakes. These small rises act as islands in a saline landscape so the plants in this area are sitting above the saline water table and would be subject to periodic inundation of relatively fresh water after rains when fresher water flows along the drainage lines (CALM 2005).

Any increase in water logging and salinity in these areas as a result of extensive land clearing across much of the Wheatbelt potentially threatens all known populations particularly populations 2 and 3 which are on private property and have very little vegetation buffering the populations (CALM 2005; Harris 2004).

Grazing by rabbits has been recorded as a moderate threat to population 1 (CALM 2005). Populations 2a and 2b have recently been fenced to prevent grazing and trampling. Population 3 is in an area which the landholder has set aside for conservation. All current land managers/owners are aware of the conservation importance of this species but private property populations may be a risk if properties change hands in the future (CALM 2005). The table below (CALM 2005) illustrates these threats:

Population Past Present Future
1 Rabbit grazing Rabbit grazing Salinity and Waterlogging
2 Clearing, grazing Salinity and waterlogging Salinity and waterlogging, potentially grazing
3 Clearing, grazing Salinity and waterlogging Salinity and waterlogging, potentially grazing

Due to the location of populations on sandy rises in saline drainage lines, the occurrence of a large flood event may increase the risk of salinity and/or waterlogging, affecting the health of the short-leaved Frankenia. Drought events would also affect the hydrology of the drainage areas in which this species grows and may also affect the health of these plants (CALM 2005).

All land managers who have populations of the Short-leaved Frankenia on their property have been notified and advised of their legislative responsibilities to protect the plants. Legislative protection under the West Australian Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) and clearing provisions under the Environmental Protection Act (1986) provide legal protection from clearing and other human physical disturbance to the plants and population sites.

Private property containing subpopulations 2a and 2b have been fenced to exclude grazing by stock. Private property containing population 3 has been dedicated as a conservation block. It is part of the World Wide Fund for Nature Woodland Watch Program and a Land for Wildlife site (CALM 2005).

The hydrology of the Mortlock Flats east branch (flats along the east branch of the Mortlock River) is being examined to try and determine the possible impacts of changed hydrology on the populations of this species, other species of rare flora and a proposed Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) (CALM 2005).

The Short-leaved Frankenia was formally named by Turcz (1854) and was later described by Bentham (1860), Blackall & Grieve (1974), the Australian Bureau of Flora and Fauna (1982) and Brown et al. (1998).

Harris (2004) researched plant size, vigour, reproductive characteristics and soils characteristics of two populations of this species and developed a framework for monitoring changes in these populations (CALM 2005).

An interim Recovery Plan is being prepared for the Short-leaved Frankenia (Luu & Brown 2004) in accordance with CALM's Draft Policy Statement 9 (CALM 2004). In order to gather data for the preparation of the plan, a research project was carried out during 2002/03 to establish a framework for monitoring changes in two of the three populations (Harris 2004).

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 Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zb) [Conservation Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zb) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Listing Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006dc) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006dc) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Frankenia parvula in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006jv) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Changes in hydrology leading to rising water tables and dryland salinity Commonwealth Listing Advice on Frankenia parvula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006dc) [Listing Advice].

Bentham, G. (1860). Fl. Austral.:152.

Blackall, W.E. & B.J. Grieve (1974). How to know Western Australian wildflowers: a key to the flora of the temperate regions of Western Australia. Parts I, II, III. University of West Australia Press.

Brown, A., C. Thomson-Dans & N. Marchant, eds. (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Como, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

CALM (2004). Draft Policy Statement No 9. Conserving Threatened Species and Ecological Communities (Revised). Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Flora of Australia (1982). Lecythidales to Batales. 8. Griffin Press Limited, South Australia.

Harris, A. (2004). Population Characteristics of Frankenia parvula (Drummonds Frankenia). A framework for Monitoring Change. Draft. Unpublished report to the West Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit. CALM.

Hopper, S.D., S. van Leeuwen, A.P. Brown & S.J. Patrick (1990). Western Australia's Endangered Flora and other plants under consideration for declaration. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Consrvation and Land Management.

IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 3.1. IUCN, Gland Switzerland.

Luu, R. & A. Brown (2004). Short-leaved Frankenia (Frankenia parvula) Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2004. Draft. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia.

Shepherd, D.P., G.R. Beeston & A.J.M. Hopkins (2002). Native vegetation in Western Australia : extent, type and status. Resource management technical report 249, Western Australia Department of Agriculture, South Perth.

Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) (2005). Records held in the Department of Conservation and Land Management's Threatened Flora Seed Centre database. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Turcz (1854). Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou.:368.

Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2005). Records held in CALM's Declared Flora Database and Rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM.

Western Australian Herbarium (2005). FloraBase - The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from:

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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). Frankenia parvula in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sat, 23 Aug 2014 19:26:37 +1000.