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 Rhaponticum australe
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Stemmacantha australis (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vf) [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] as Stemmacantha australis.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (72) (15/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008k) [Legislative Instrument] as Rhaponticum australe.
    Documents and Websites
Biodiversity Recovery Plan for Gatton and Laidley Shires, South-East Queensland 2003-2008 (Boyes, B., 2004).
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Rhaponticum australe
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Rhaponticum australe
Scientific name Rhaponticum australe [22647]
Family Asteraceae:Asterales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (Gaudich.) Sojak
Infraspecies author  
Reference Sojak, J. (1962) Novitates Systematicae Plantarum Vascularum (Leningrad)
Other names Leuzea australis [9363]
Stemmacantha australis [23949]
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

The Austral Cornflower is an erect, herbaceous perennial that grows up to 60 cm high. The stems are covered in woolly hairs and the flowers are deeply toothed. Flowering heads are purplish and are clustered into terminal heads, 36 mm in diameter (Harden 1992; QDNR 2000; TSSC 2008vf).

The Austral Cornflower is currently confined to Queensland. The species was known to previously occur in NSW and Victoria, but is now presumed extinct in those states (TSSC 2008vf). The current distribution of the Austral Cornflower extends from Allora (north of Warwick) to Callide (north-west of Biloela), Queensland.

The most significant extant population of the Austral Cornflower occurs at upper Glengallan Creek, just north of the Cunningham Highway, in the Toowoomba-Aubigny region. Other populations occur at Cania, Mt Moffat National Park on the Marlong Plain and on the eastern Darling Downs in 1990.

The number of known locations was nearly 50 in the late 1990’s (Allworth 1998), however, more recently the total population size and extent of occurrence of this species is unknown (TSSC 2008vf). One population has over 1000 individual plants, but most populations are much smaller (TSSC 2008vf).

Historic records of the Austral Cornflower in the species’ previous extent of occurrence were from Lake Omeo, and Bucchan at Murrandal Valley, Victoria and from the Jenolan Caves area and 'Namoi River' in NSW (ALA 2013; Harden 1992).

The Austral Cornflower is known to occur in the Carnarvon National Park and in East Haldon State Forest (QDNR 2000).

The Austral Cornflower usually grows on heavy black or red-brown clay, or clay loams derived from basalt. Populations are often confined to roadsides and cultivation headlands (Harden 1992; Queensland Herbarium pers. comm. 1999; QDNR 2000). Locations where the species occurs range in altitude up to 480 m above sea level.

The Austral Cornflower is often found in woodland and grassland and in association with Eucalyptus crebra (Narrow-leaved Ironbark), E. orgadophila (Mountain Coolibah), E. populnea (Poplar Box), E. tereticornis (Forest Red Gum), E. melanophloia (Silver-leaved Ironbark), Angophora subvelutina (Broad-leaved Apple), A. floribunda (Rough-barked Apple), Cirsium vulgare (Spear Thistle - introdued species), Dichanthium sericeum (Queensland Bluegrass) and Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass). The Austral Cornflower is considered to be a poor competitor and prefers habitat where grass competition has been reduced by fire or other forms of disturbance. However, the species is unlikely to benefit from disturbance that allows the development of a dense cover of exotic grasses such as Chloris gayana (Rhodes Grass) (QDNR 2000).

The Austral Cornflower flowers between spring and late summer to autumn. The dead flowering stems can remain on the plant for several months after the seeds have dispersed (Marlow 1998).

Woodland clearing for agriculture and urban development and livestock grazing has to the local extinction of the Austral Cornflower in Victoria and NSW. There is indirect evidence that livestock grazing is a significant ongoing threat, as nearly all current populations of the species are restricted to roadside sites where there is little or no grazing. Conversely, the fact that the Austral Cornflower has been recorded from several roadside sites indicates resilience to some forms of disturbance, such as slashing and occasional burning. Fire at regular intervals may even be beneficial for the species, as it has been observed germinating well after fire (QDNR 2000); however, more fire research is required.

The invasion of exotic grass species into Austral Cornflower habitat may also threaten extant populations. As most populations occur on highly disturbed roadsides, they must compete with introduced species such as Sorghum halepense, Paspalum dilatatum, Chloris gayana and other weedy forbs. The Austral Cornflower may not be able to compete effectively with these species, and weeds are also likely to modify the habitat (Marlow 1998).

The approved conservation advice for the Austral Cornflower contains information and actions that are intended to aid the recovery of the species (TSSC 2008vf). The recommended actions are directed at managing issues such as habitat loss, disturbance, weeds, grazing pressure and knowledge gaps.

Documents relevant to the management of the Austral Cornflower can be found at the start of the profile.

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 Stemmacantha australis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ux) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Stemmacantha australis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ux) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Paspalum dilatatum (Paspalum) Stemmacantha australis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ux) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Stemmacantha australis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ux) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Stemmacantha australis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ux) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Stemmacantha australis (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vf) [Conservation Advice].

Allworth, D. (1998). Roadside Conservation issues on the Darling Downs. Managing and Growing Trees. Farm Forestry and Vegetation Management. 1. [Online]. Available from:

Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (2013). Atlas of Living Australia. [Online]. Available from:

Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria (2006). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Available from:

Harden, G.J. (Ed.) (1992). Flora of New South Wales Volume 3. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

Marlow, G. (1998). Stemmacantha australis - Description and Ecology. In: Menkins, I., ed. Native Vegetation of the Darling Downs.

Queensland Department of Natural Resources (Qld DNR) (2000). Species Management Manual. Forest and Fauna Conservation and Ecology Section, Queensland Department of Natural Resouces.

Queensland Herbarium (1999). Personal communication.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008vf). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Stemmacantha australis. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 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). Rhaponticum australe in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:03:44 +1000.