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 Endangered as Acacia spilleriana
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ct) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended that there should not be a recovery plan for this species as the conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (07/12/2009).
 
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 (85) (07/12/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009d) [Legislative Instrument] as Acacia spilleriana.
 
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list) as Acacia spilleriana
Scientific name Acacia spilleriana [34123]
Family Fabaceae:Fabales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author J.Brown
Infraspecies author  
Reference The Forest Flora of South Australia 7th. Pt. (1886).
Other names Acacia brachybotrya var. spilleriana [29217]
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: Acacia spilleriana

Common name: Spiller's Wattle

Synonyms: Acacia brachybotrya var. spilleriana, Racosperma spillerianum

In 2001, Spiller's Wattle had a taxonomic revision (Maslin 2001a) that reclassified the three previously accepted type locations (Brown 1886; Maslin 2001b). The original type locations are now treated as follows:

  • The Burra Gorge specimen is the current accepted type locality (Maslin 2001a).
  • The Wirrabarra Forest specimen is treated as Acacia aff. spilleriana (Maslin 2001a).
  • The Hill River Estate specimen is accepted as Spiller's Wattle, but not as the type locality (Maslin 2001a).

Plants from the Wirrabara forest are more closely related to the Grey Mulga (Acacia brachybotrya) but have pods of a similar shape as Spiller's Wattle and are thus described as A. aff. spilleriana (SA DEH 2005a). Acacia aff. spilleriana also occurs in the Gulnare, Spalding and Gladstone areas (SA DEH 2005a).

A new treatment for the Acacia brachybotrya-spilleriana group is yet to be published and Maslin (2001b) considers that the group requires further taxonomic attention (SA DEH 2005a).

Spiller's Wattle is a 1–3 m tall, bushy, rounded, compact, spreading shrub (Whibley & Symon 1992). The shrub has small, grayish rounded "leaves" (phyllodes) and globular heads of bright golden flowers on long stalks (Maslin 2001a).

Spiller's Wattle branchlets are densely pubescent with velvety citron hairs on older shoots and silvery white hairs on new shoots (Maslin 2001a). The phyllodes (leaf-like structures) are elliptic to oblong-elliptic or obovate and 2–3 cm long to 1–2 cm broad (Maslin 2001a). They are coriaceous and grey-green to silvery (Maslin 2001a). The inflorescences are axillary and comprise one to two globular heads of 30–40 bright yellow flowers (Maslin 2001a) on long peduncles that typically exceed the phyllode (Brown 1886; Whibley & Symon 1992). The legumes are 5.5 cm long, dark grey to black when mature, with only one or two seeds (Whibley & Symon 1992).

Spiller's Wattle is endemic to South Australia and occurs in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges and in the ranges around Burra and Auburn. Its range extends from Burra south to Tarlee and from Mount Templeton in the South Hummocks east to Robertstown (SA DEH 2005a). A collection from Port Lincoln, on the Eyre Peninsula (Wood 1926) is considered to be a naturalised occurrence (Maslin 2001a). This population was probably an accidental introduction from a planted specimen. It is not within the current known range of the species (SA DEH 2005a).

Within its range, Spiller's Wattle is patchily and sparsely distributed along roadsides and in remnant vegetation between the townships of Eudunda, Saddleworth and Burra. Many populations consist of one or two plants (TSSC 2009cs) and most records are from the Hallelujah Hills and Burra Gorge area (SA DEH 2005a). There are less frequent records for the species to the west of the Clare Valley (SA DEH 2005a).

The species occurs in the Northern Yorke and Agricultural District Natural Resource Management Region and the Flinders Lofty Block and Eyre Yorke Block Interim Biogeographical Regionalisation of Australia regions (TSSC 2009cs).

Extent of occurrence
The extent of occurrence of Spiller's Wattle is estimated as 1800 km² (TSSC 2009cs). This figure was calculated using South Australian herbarium and Department for Environment and Heritage databases (SA DEH 2005a). Collections from Wirrabara (a separate undescribed taxon), Eyre Peninsula (a naturalised collection), Kapunda and Bungaree (considered locally extinct) were excluded from this estimate (SA DEH 2005a).

Collections from Kapunda and Bungaree (north of Clare) are no longer extant and indicate a northern and southern contraction since the 1950s. Future contractions may occur as populations at range limits are small (e.g. one or two plants) and/or occur on road verges. Most populations are on road verges, except for larger populations that occur in the Burra Gorge/Hallelujah Hills area (SA DEH 2005a).

Fragmentation
The distribution of Spiller's Wattle is considered to be severely fragmented. With the exception of a large population in the Burra Gorge/Hallelujah Hills locality, population occurs as small stands of isolated individuals in cleared landscapes with a limited probability of recolonisation if destroyed (TSSC 2009cs).

There have been no surveys specifically targeting this species. There are unlikely to be large undiscovered populations as Spiller's Wattle is easy to locate and most areas of suitable habitat have been cleared for agriculture (TSSC 2009cs).

There is no data on actual numbers of mature Spiller's Wattle individuals but roadside populations are reported as sparse or as 1–2 plants (SA DEH 2005a). Larger populations occur in the Burra Gorge/Hallelujah Hills area where plants are recorded from roadsides and in remnant vegetation on public and private land (SA DEH 2005a) where the species is described as common or dominant (TSSC 2009cs).

There is no data on trends in population numbers. It is likely that the smaller populations are subpopulations, given that there is little opportunity for genetic exchange, but there is insufficient data to prove this. The lack of recruiting individuals in roadside populations (SA DEH 2005a) would suggest that there is no replacement of senescent mature individuals and that there is a declining trend in population numbers in these locations.

The following table presents populations of Spiller's Wattle (SA DEH 2005a):

Locality Year of most recent record Number of individuals Land tenure
South Hummocks 2005 Not abundant Private
Auburn 1983 Sparse Roadside private
Auburn 1971 No data Roadside
Between Eudunda and Marrabel 2005 Few Roadside
8 km south-east of Marrabel 1972 No data Roadside
Eudunda 1975 No data Unknown
Auburn-Balaclava Road 1982 Few Roadside
Between Tarlee and Riverton 1994 No data Roadside
Niblet Gap (Tothill Range) 1987 Very common Unknown
Scrubby Range 1990 Dominant Private
Between Robertstown and Burra Gorge 1993 "Rare" Private
Burra Gorge/Hallelujah Hills 2003 Common Reserve
Farrell Flat 1993 No data Roadside
Hanson 1971 No data Roadside
Porter's Lagoon 1989 No data Unknown
5 km north of Manoora 1971 No data Roadside
Burra Mine Site 2000 No data Reserve
2.5 km east of Saddleworth 1970 One Roadside
Saddleworth 1970 One Roadside
Kapunda 1945 Extinct Unknown
Emu Downs 1932 Extinct? Unknown
West of Bungaree 1948 Extinct Unknown
Robertstown 1954 Extinct? Unknown

Spiller's Wattle occurs in an area that has undergone extensive clearing where very little remnant vegetation remains (Graham et al. 2001). This has decreased the area of suitable habitat for the species and has probably resulted in past declines.

Populations that occur on roadsides persist as one or two mature plants with no recruiting individuals and a lack of seeds. If these populations senesce and die there will be a considerable decline in the extent of occurrence, a loss of genetic diversity and a minor impact on the total population (SA DEH 2005a).
Spiller's Wattle is known to hybridise with Grey Mulga and Wallowa (A. calamifolia). A hybrid between Spiller's Wattle and Wallowa occurs on the roadside near Auburn (SA DEH 2005a).

Parts of the Spiller's Wattle population in the Burra Gorge/Hallelujah Hills area are protected. However, none of these populations are actively managed for the conservation of Spiller's Wattle (SA DEH 2005a):

  • One population is in a heritage agreement, which is an agreement with the South Australian Government and the landholder to protect specified vegetation in perpetuity.
  • At Hopkin's Creek, a property has been purchased for dedication as a conservation park which will be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The property was purchased to protect a population of Hairy-pod Wattle (Acacia glandulicarpa), but also includes a population of Spiller's Wattle.
  • Parts of the Burra Gorge (World's End Gorge) are within a local government reserve which is designated as a camping reserve. This site is managed by the Regional Council of Goyder.
  • A population occurring at the Burra Mine Site Grasslands is in a national trust reserve that is managed to preserve native grasslands.

Spiller's Wattle grows on rocky hills, commonly along watercourses and roadsides (Maslin 2001a; Whibley & Symon 1992). At Burra Gorge (World's End Gorge) plants occur along the creekline and on the rocky slopes of the gorge (SA DEH 2005a). Roadside populations generally occur in cleared areas (SA DEH 2005a).

Soils of the Mid-North region (the area where Spiller's Wattle occurs) generally comprise duplex soils with loamy soils overlying red clayey subsoils that are typically alkaline throughout the soil profile (Hyde 1994). Herbarium records for the species report it occurring on alkaline loams to heavy loams but usually in locations that would appear to be well-drained (SA DEH 2005a).

The annual rainfall across Spiller's Wattle distribution ranges from 445 mm at Eudunda to 632 mm at Clare (Bureau of Meteorology 2006). The climate is Mediterranean with warm dry summers and cool, wet winters. Rainfall is seasonal and May to September are the wettest months (Bureau of Meteorology 2006).

Spiller's Wattle has been recorded growing with Wallowa. At Scrubby Range, the species occurs in Snap-and-rattle (Eucalyptus gracilis), Red Mallee (E. socialis) and Gilja (E. brachycalyx) open scrub with a shrubby understorey. Associated species include Dryland Teatree (Melaleuca lanceolata), Pale Turpentine Bush (Beyeria lechenaultii), Acrotriche patula and Stiff Westringia (Westringia rigida). Along creeklines at Burra Creek and Hopkins Creek, the plant grows in River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis) woodland in association with Acacia sp., Senna sp., Rhagodia sp. and Callitris sp. (SA DEH 2005a).

Spiller's Wattle can be distinguished from Grey Mulga by the presence of broader pods with oblique seeds, the stouter and usually longer peduncles that exceed the phyllodes, the larger flower heads, larger phyllodes and denser pubescense (Maslin 2001a).

Acacia aff. spilleriana occurs in the Wirrabara region and this variant may be difficult to distinguish from Spiller's Wattle and a collection of this plant has been made from the Hallelujah Hills area (SA DEH 2005a).

Spiller's Wattle may also be confused with Silver Mulga (Acacia argyrophylla) but has narrower phyllodes, golden pubescence and longer legumes with longitudinal seeds (Whibley & Symon 1992).

There have been no studies addressing threats specific to Spiller's Wattle but general threats to plant populations in the Mid-North region are relevant to this species (Davies 1995a, 1995b).

Habitat loss and fragmentation
Broadscale vegetation clearance across the range of Spiller's Wattle has resulted in the fragmentation of remaining vegetation into small isolated patches (Graham et al. 2001). Vegetation clearance has resulted in habitat loss and could limit the future expansion of populations. Across most of its' range, the species only occurs on roadsides with few populations occurring in remnant vegetation. Permitted vegetation clearance (e.g. along fencelines) may destroy populations along roadsides or on private property (SA DEH 2005a).

Weeds
All populations are threatened by weeds, but roadside populations may be at extra risk. Competition from weeds may prevent recruitment or may weaken mature shrubs, making them susceptible to disease (SA DEH 2005a).

Road maintenance
Roadside plants may also be damaged or destroyed during road maintenance or by vehicles. Roadside populations may also be destroyed by herbicide spraying of roadside weeds (SA DEH 2005a).

Agriculture
Threats for plants on private property include grazing. Browsing of mature plants and seedlings, trampling and encouraging weeds. Roadside populations may also be vulnerable to fertiliser and pesticide drift from adjacent agricultural land and possibly higher numbers of pest animals (Graham et al. 2001).

Recreation activities
The population at Burra Gorge is threatened by recreational use of the reserve. Disturbance by recreational vehicles, rubbish dumping, lighting of fires and disturbance by trampling may result in the direct destruction of plants or increases in pest plants and animals (SA DEH 2005a).

Fire
The response of Spiller's Wattle to fire is unknown, however, a severe fire event could have catastrophic impacts on the species (SA DEH 2005a).

Lack of biological knowledge
There is a lack of knowledge about the biology of this species to assess whether biological characteristics pose a threat to its survival (SA DEH 2005a).

Ministers reasons not to have a recovery plan

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended that there should not be a recovery plan for this species as the conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice onAcacia spilleriana (TSSC 2009ct) recommends the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program or, if appropriate, support and enhance existing programs.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Undertake seed germination and/or vegetative propagation trials to determine the requirements for successful establishment.
  • 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.
  • Investigate the precise taxonomic relationship between Spiller's Wattle, Grey Mulga and Acacia aff. spilleriana using appropriate methodologies including DNA marker analysis.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice onAcacia spilleriana (TSSC 2009ct) recommends the following recovery priorities:

  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Identify populations of high conservation priority.
  • Ensure there is no disturbance in areas where Spiller's Wattle occurs, excluding necessary actions to manage the conservation of the species.
  • Signpost vegetation in vicinity of populations on road reserves as environmentally significant to prevent accidental damage by road maintenance crews.
  • Investigate formal conservation arrangements, management agreements and covenants on private land and, for crown and private land, investigate inclusion in reserve tenure if possible.
  • Control access routes to suitably constrain public access to known sites on public land.
  • Suitably control and manage access on private land and other land tenure.
  • Identify and remove weeds in the local area, which could become a threat to Spiller's Wattle, using appropriate methods.
  • Manage sites to prevent introduction of invasive weeds, which could become a threat to Spiller's Wattle, using appropriate methods.
  • Ensure chemicals or other mechanisms used to eradicate weeds do not have a significant adverse impact on Spiller's Wattle.
  • Develop and implement a stock management plan for roadside verges and travelling stock routes.
  • If livestock grazing occurs in the area, ensure land owners/managers use an appropriate management regime and density that does not detrimentally affect this species.
  • Where appropriate, manage total grazing pressure at significant sites through exclusion fencing or other barriers.
  • Raise awareness of Spiller's Wattle within the local community.
  • Frequently engage with private landholders and land managers responsible for the land on which populations occur and encourage these key stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of conservation management actions.
  • Undertake appropriate seed collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking or enhancing current populations.

There are no recovery actions underway or proposed for Spiller's Wattle. Populations currently within reserves are protected from grazing and trampling by domestic stock. Threats could be abated in the following ways (SA DEH 2005a):

  • Registering roadside populations as roadside significant sites and installing roadside markers to alert roadside maintenance workers.
  • Weed and pest control programs.
  • Protection of populations within the Burra Gorge reserve.

The key management document for Spiler's Wattle is the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia spilleriana (TSSC 2009ct).

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:Habitat modification and disturbance due to fencing Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat alteration (vegetation, soil, hydrology) due to trampling and grazing by livestock Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [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 Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Airborne Agricultural pollutants:Fertiliser drift Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Poor recruitment (regeneration) and declining population numbers Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009cs) [Listing Advice].

Brown, J.E. (1886). The Forest Flora of South Australia. Page(s) 31-32. Adelaide, South Australia: Government Printer.

Bureau of Meteorology (2006). Climate Averages. [Online]. Available from: http://www.bom.gov.au/.

Davies, R.J.P. (1995a). Threatened Plant Species Management in the Arid Pastoral Zone of South Australia. Pastoral Management Branch, Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Davies, R.J.P. (1995b). Threatened Plant Species Management in National Parks and Wildlife Act Reserves in South Australia. Athelstone, South Australia: Black Hill Flora Centre, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.

Graham, A., A. Oppermann & R.W. Inns (2001). Biodiversity Plan for the Northern Agricultural Districts. Adelaide, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage.

Hyde, M.K. (1994). A Vegetation Survey of Disused Railway Corridors in the Mid-north Region of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia: Nature Conservation Society of South Australia Inc.

Maslin, B.R. (2001a). Mimosaceae. Acacia part 1. In: Orchard, A.E. & A. Wilson, eds. Flora of Australia. 11A:1-673. Melbourne, Victoria: Australian Biological Resources Study and CSIRO Publishing.

Maslin, B.R. (2001b). Mimosaceae. Acacia part 2. In: Orchard, A.E. & A. Wilson, eds. Flora of Australia. 11B:1-536. Melbourne, Victoria: Australian Biological Resources Study and CSIRO Publishing.

South Australia Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH) (2005a). SA DEH databases comprising of the Opportune Database, Plant Population Database, Reserves Database, Roadside Vegetation Database and Survey Database. Adelaide, South Australia: Department of Environment and Heritage.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009cs). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia spilleriana. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/34123-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009ct). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia spilleriana. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/34123-conservation-advice.pdf.

Whibley, D.J.E. & D.E. Symon (1992). Acacias of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia: Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbook Committee.

Wood, J.G. (1929). Floristics and Ecology of the Mallee. The Royal Society of South Australia. 53:359-378. [Online]. Available from: http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/Journals/TRSSA/TRSSA_V053/TRSSA_V053_p359p378.pdf.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Acacia spilleriana in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:56:55 +1000.