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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Competition and Land Degradation by Feral Rabbits (Environment Australia (EA), 1999c) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
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].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis [55804]
Family Myrtaceae:Myrtales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author  
Infraspecies author A.S.George
Reference George, A.S. (1991) New taxa, combinations and typifications in Verticordia (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae). Nuytsia 7(3): 356, fig. 37 [tax. nov.]
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.dec.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/12453

The current conservation status of the Vasse Featherflower, Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis, under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Western Australia: Listed as Declared Rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Scientific name: Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis

Common name: Vasse Featherflower

Vasse Featherflower is a shrub which grows to 1 metre tall and 1 metre wide, and is single-stemmed at the base with several erect or spreading main branches. The medium green leaves, 3–7 mm long, are needle-like, but slightly thickened upwards. They are widely spaced, with the internodes on the main branches being 10–15 mm apart. Umbrella-like groups of pale to deep pinkish-mauve, or occassionally white, honey-scented flowers can be found on the plants from spring through to autumn (September to February) (Brown et al. 1998).

Vasse Featherflower occurs in south-west Western Australia, near Busselton. It is now known from Ambergate; between Ruabon and Tutunup; Scott River; and south of Busselton (George 1991). This species occurs within the South West Natural Resource Management Region. Vasse Featherflower is known from 13 locations.

The extent of occurrence is calculated to be 772 km². The Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation's (WA DEC) Threatened Flora Database was used to create a minimum convex polygon. Although there is no specific data, the extent of occurrence has diminished as a result of extensive clearing. There is no data to indicate a future decline in extent of occurrence (WA DEC 2007).

The area of occupancy is approximately 0.045 km² (or approximately 4.6 hectares) according to on-ground area of occupancy estimates for 17 of the subpopulations. This does not include the estimate for subpopulations 7k and 7l (Table 1) which include hybrid plants. Where the area of occupancy was not recorded, an estimate was used from an average calculated from the known subpopulations. There is some data to show a decline in area of occupancy as populations 3, 6 and 9 may have become locally extinct. Areas in which Vasse Featherflower occurs has been affected by extensive clearing (WA DEC 2007).

There are no translocated populations, although a translocation proposal was prepared to move four plants from population 11 to the location of subpopulations 2a and 2b (WA DEC 2007). This species' distribution is severely fragmented and very restricted. The known subpopulations occur over a large geographic range in isolated pockets of remnant vegetation with no contiguous habitat (WA DEC 2007).

Vasse Featherflower was first collected in March 1898 by Alexander Morrison from near the Lower Vasse River (Brown et al. 1998). No other sightings were made until it was found in Ambergate, south of Busselton, in November 1947 and again in October 1950 (Western Australian Herbarium 2007). The next record was in 1981 when collections were made from three separate populations (Brown et al. 1998); however the location information ("near Ruabon") was not specific enough to attribute these to known subpopulations. Between 1982 and 1993, specific searches for Vasse Featherflower were carried out within the Busselton region. While successfully locating several new small subpopulations, the searches were unable to significantly extend the range of this species.

Vasse Featherflower was also recorded in the Ruabon Nature Reserve during the Floristic Survey of Reserves in the Bushland areas in the Busselton Region (Carbanup Bushland, Ambergate Reserve, Ruabon Nature Reserve and Capel Nature Reserve) (WA DEC 2007).

The Ruabon area was surveyed in 1993 and subpopulations 7a–7j, 8a–8c and 10a–10e were discovered (WA DEC 2007). However, subpopulations 7g, 7h, 7i and 7j were not able to be relocated in 1997. A search of the southern boundary of Ruabon Nature Reserve in January 1996 failed to locate the species, however, it was located on the road verge adjacent to the Reserve (part of subpopulation 7i).

Table 1: Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) staff surveyed most of the known subpopulations in December 2006 (WA DEC 2007):


Population/Subpopulation Survey History Number of Plants Recorded Area
1 22/09/1985
05/01/1996
03/02/1998
26/02/1999
28/12/2006
Collection only
1000+
100 (collection only)
1000 (collection only)
20+ (partial survey)
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
2a 20/10/1993
13/12/1995
23/02/1997
02/07/1997
22/01/1998
19/12/2000
28/12/2006
478 (includes 2b)
50 (includes 2b)
300+ (includes 2b)
30
50 (collection only)
50-100 (includes 2b)
20+ (partial survey, includes 2b)
2 000m²
2 400m²
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
2b 20/10/1993
13/12/1995
23/02/1997
19/12/2000
28/12/2006
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
See 2a
3 24/04/1983
01/01/1984
05/01/1996
28/12/2006
Collection only
Collection only
13
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
50m²
0
4 05/01/1996
15/12/2000
20/12/2006
36
10
1
25m²
Not recorded
Not recorded
5 05/01/1996
28/12/2006
200+
100+
80m²
Not recorded
6 05/01/1996
28/12/2006
1
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
7a 30/03/1993

03/01/1996
19/12/2000
28/12/2006
273 (includes 7b)

30
20
500+ (partial survey, includes 7b, 7c, 7d, 7e, 7f)
15 000m² (includes 7a–7f, 8a–8c)
5 000m²
Not recorded
Not recorded
Unknown
7b 30/03/1993
03/01/1996
28/12/2006
See 7a
20
see 7a
See 7a
200m²
Not recorded
7c 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
54 (includes 7d)
see 7a
See 7a
Not recorded
7d 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
See 7c
see 7a
See 7a
Not recorded
7e 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
75 (includes 7f)
see 7a
See 7a
Not recorded
7f 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
See 7f
see 7a
See 7a
Not recorded
7g 30/03/1993 28 (includes 7h) 300m² (includes 7h)
7h 30/03/1993 See 7g See 7g
7i 30/04/1993 1015 10 000m²
7j 30/03/1993 1 Not recorded
7k* 13/12/1995
20/12/2006
3
50+ (includes 7l)
Unknown
800m² (includes 7l)
7l* 03/01/1996
20/12/2006
Unknown
See 7k
Unknown
See 7k
7m 17/02/2006 2–5 Not recorded
8a 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
78
40+ (partial survey, includes 8b, 8c)
See 7a
Not recorded
8b 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
109 (includes 8c)
see 8a
Not recorded
Not recorded
8c 30/03/1993
28/12/2006
See 8a
See 8a
See 8a
Not recorded
9 05/01/1996
28/12/2006
1
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
10a 24/11/1993
02/02/1998
900
900 (collection only)
Not recorded
Not recorded
10b 24/11/1993 1 Not recorded
10c 24/11/1993 1 Not recorded
10d 24/11/1993 362 Not recorded
10e 24/11/1993 163 Not recorded
11 11/2004
11/06/2005
24/02/2006
28/12/2006
Unknown
2
13
20+
Unknown
52m²
Not recorded
Not recorded
12 11/06/2005 10 Not recorded
13 11/12/2006 1 Not recorded

*These subpopulations contain many hybrid plants of Verticordia plumosa var. ananeotes and Vasse Featherflower (WA DEC 2007).

The total population size for this species is estimated to be 3188 mature plants. This estimate does not include the plants at subpopulations 7k and 7l, which are likely to be hybrids with Tufted Plumed Featherflower (Verticordia plumosa var. ananeotes). This estimate may not be reliable because the most recent surveys for some of the subpopulations (1, 2a, 2b, 7a–7f, 8a–c) were only partial surveys, while the counts for other subpopulations (7i, 10a–e) are more than 10 years old and may no longer be representative (WA DEC 2007).

Vasse Featherflower is known from 13 locations which represent 13 populations. Some of these populations have been split into subpopulations, based upon differences in land tenure and management and/or location. Plants were not found at three locations at the last survey: it is not known if the species still occurs at these localities.

The population trend appears to be in decline. Populations 3, 6 and 9 have not recorded any plants at the most recent surveys, although they may not be locally extinct and may appear again following a disturbance event such as a fire. Population 5 appears to have declined in numbers. Subpopulation 7i, which was very large in 1993, has not been relocated. Subpopulations 7a–7f appear to be stable at present; however they are located in road and rail reserves which are at risk from weed invasion, edge effects and fire (WA DEC 2007).

All subpopulations are regarded as essential for the long-term survival, as the species is known from only 13 locations, all of which are critical to its long-term survival (WA DEC 2007).

Subpopulations 1, 7i and 7m occur in Nature Reserves which are managed by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation for the conservation of flora and fauna but not specifically for the conservation of Vasse Featherflower. All other subpopulations occur either on Shire road reserves, recreation reserves, railway reserves or on private property (WA DEC 2007).

Vasse Featherflower grows on a variety of sands and swampy clay soils in mostly winter-wet flats and depressions on badly degraded, grassy-weed infested road verges. It often grows with Golden Spray (Viminaria juncea), sedge and rushes, or in low heath containing Hypocalymma sp., Grass Tree (Kingia australis), Pericalymma ellipticum and Rose Coneflower (Isopogon formosus) (Brown et al. 1998; Williams et al. 2001). This species sometimes occurs with Long-stalked Featherflower (Verticordia densiflora var. pedunculata) which is listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act.

Subpopulations 7a–7f and 8a–8c occur within the 'Shrublands on southern Swan Coastal Plain ironstones' which is an ecological community listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act. These ironstone soils are highly restricted in distribution (Meissner & English 2005) and are listed as 'Shrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstone (Busselton Area) (Southern Ironstone Association)' in Western Australia.

Vasse Featherflower flowers from October to February, occasionally continuing until April. It regenerates from seed following fire and soil disturbance (Brown et al. 1998).

Vasse Featherflower is best searched for when flowering between October and February (WA DEC 2007). It is conspicuous when in flower. This species differs from other varieties in having short flower stalks and smaller flowers. It is distinguished from Tufted Plumed Featherflower (Verticordia plumosa var. ananeotes), which sometimes occurs in the same area, in not having a lignotuber (Brown et al. 1998).

Plants with a lignotuber, which appear to be hybrids between this species and Tufted Plumed Featherflower, also grow in the area. Hybrids between this species and other varieties in the genus have been found throughout the south-west of Western Australia and indicate the taxon was once more widespread (Brown et al. 1998). Several collections are intermediate morphologically between Vasse Featherflower and Verticordia plumosa var. brachyphylla. One collection appears intermediate between Vasse Featherflower and Verticordia plumosa var. plumosa (George 1991), which has pink flowers that occur on corymbose flowering branches (Williams et al. 2001).

Vasse Featherflower appears to be most vulnerable to localised extinction from stochastic events as a result of small population sizes.

Habitat reduction/degradation
Four plants in population 11 were to be removed as a result of construction of a compensation basin. A translocation proposal was prepared for these four plants, along with the collection and storage of cuttings and seed at the Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA). The plants are to be translocated to the location of subpopulations 2a and 2b (WA DEC 2007). This population is adjacent to drainage infrastructure and a powerline easement, and has been disturbed in the past. Some of the Scott River subpopulations (10c and 10d, south side of the road) were affected by clearing for a new fence and firebreak in 1993. Subpopulations 10a–10e occur on land over which a mining lease has been granted (WA DEC 2007).

Weeds
Weeds are invading the habitat of many of the road reserve subpopulations. Subpopulations 2a and 2b are significantly affected by Watsonia (Watsonia spp.). Current use of the firebreak adjacent to part of the Ruabon-Tutunup subpopulations (7a–7m, 8a–8c) for horse-riding may lead to the introduction of disease or weeds (Williams et al. 2001). Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) is also a problem at a number of sites (WA DEC 2007).

Fire
Fire threatens all subpopulations of Vasse Featherflower. It is likely that the species requires occasional fire for recruitment from soil stored seed, but too frequent fires during the flowering and seeding phase (November to February), and fire in subpopulations that have not reached sexual maturity, may be detrimental to the long term survival of Vasse Featherflower. Fire also promotes the introduction of weed species (WA DEC 2007).

Grazing
Feral rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and kangaroos (Macropus spp.) in the habitat of many of the subpopulations may affect the general health of the plants and surrounding vegetation, aiding the spread of weeds and lowering seedling survival (WA DEC 2007).

Maintenance activities
Road, track, firebreak and powerline maintenance activities such as grading activities and other road maintenance activities have the potential to impact on the road reserve subpopulations of Vasse Featherflower (subpopulations 2a and 2b). Subpopulation 2a has already been affected by powerpole maintenance (WA DEC 2007).

Dieback
Dieback caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi is a threat to Vasse Featherflower, as this species may be susceptible to the disease (other members of the genus have shown some susceptibility) (WA DEC 2007).

Table 2: The Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation lists the following threats for each subpopulation (WA DEC 2007):


Population/Subpopulation Number Current Condition Past Present Potential Future
1 Healthy     Roadworks, fire
2a Moderate Road maintenance activities Weeds (Watsonia), power pole maintenance Road maintenance activities
2b Moderate      
3 Disturbed/Poor Weeds Weeds  
4 Disturbed Clearing   Road maintenance activities
5 Healthy      
6 Disturbed Weeds Weeds  
7a Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7b Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7c Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7d Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7e Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7f Healthy   Weeds (Bridal Creeper), recreational activities (horse-riding) Road maintenance activities, fire
7g Unknown      
7h Unknown      
7i Unknown      
7j Unknown      
7k* Healthy   Grazing, weeds Road maintenance activities, Phytophthora dieback
7l* Healthy   Grazing, weeds Road maintenance activities, Phytophthora dieback
7m Unknown      
8a Healthy     Road maintenance activities, fire
8b Healthy     Road maintenance activities, fire
8c Healthy     Road maintenance activities, fire
9 Unknown   Weeds Road maintenance activities, weeds
10a Healthy     Mining
10b Healthy     Mining
10c Healthy Clearing for new fence and firebreak   Mining
10d Healthy Clearing for new fence and firebreak   Mining
10e Healthy     Mining
11 Healthy   Construction of Water Corporation compensation basin; weeds Road maintenance activities, weeds
12 Moderate   Weeds, grazing Road maintenance activities
13 Unknown      

The following management actions are appropriate for Vasse Featherflower:

  • Regular monitoring (Williams et al 2001).
  • Ensure that road maintenence activities, firebreak maintenence and development activities involving substrate or vegetative disturbance tdo not adversely affect this species.
  • Develop and implement an appropriate fire management strategy.
  • Implement appropriate hygeine protocols for current and future dieback outbreaks (EA 2001l).
  • Where necessary ensure appropriate grazing strategies are implemented that do not adversely affect this species.
  • Where appropriate, fence populations from to reduce total grazing pressure.
  • Implement feral rabbit eradication at effected sites (EA 1999c).
  • Monitor and control weeds where required, especially population 4 (Williams et al 2001).
  • Liaison with Shire and relevant community groups (Williams et al 2001).

Recovery actions are described in Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Central Forest Region (Williams et al. 2001).

Recovery actions for the ecological community in which subpopulations 7a–7f and 8a–8c occur are described in Shrubland association on southern swan coastal plain ironstone (Busselton area) (Southern Ironstone Association) Interim Recovery Plan 2005–2010 (Meissner & English 2005).

The Bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) weed management guide (ARMCANZ 2001h) provides management strategies for Bridal Creeper.

The Threat Abatement Plan for Competition and Land Degradation by Feral Rabbits (EA 1999c) and the Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi (EA 2001l) provide threat abatement actions appropriate to Vasse Featherflower.

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
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Habitat degradation associated with recreational activities such as horse riding Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].
Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation caused by marine invertebrates Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009w) [Threat Abatement Plan].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Transportation and Service Corridors:Road and rail maintenance works Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis (Vasse Featherflower) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008u) [Conservation Advice].

Agriculture & Resources Management Council of Australia & New Zealand (ARMCANZ) (2001h). Weeds of National Significance Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) Strategic Plan. Australian & New Zealand Environment & Conservation Council and Forestry Ministers. Launceston: National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee.

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

Environment Australia (EA) (1999c). Threat Abatement Plan for Competition and Land Degradation by Feral Rabbits. [Online]. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/rabbits08.html.

George, A.S. (1991). New taxa, combinations and typifications in Verticordia (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae). Nuytsia. 7(3):231-394.

Meissner, R. & V. English (2005). Shrubland association on southern swan coastal plain ironstone (Busselton area) (Southern Ironstone Association) Interim Recovery Plan No. 215 2005-2010. Perth: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2007). Records held in DEC's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation.

Western Australian Herbarium (2007). FloraBase: The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Western Australia, Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/. [Accessed: 05-Apr-2007].

Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb (2001). Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2. [Online]. Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 33. Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

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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). Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:29:28 +1000.