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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008se) [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].
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Scientific name Marsdenia paludicola [64529]
Family Asclepiadaceae:Gentianales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author P.I.Forster
Infraspecies author  
Reference Aust. Syst. Bot. 8: 734, fig. 12 (1995).
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: Marsdenia paludicola

Marsdenia paludicola is a woody vine with fibrous roots. The cylindrical stems are densely covered in velvety hairs when young, becoming ridged and corky when old, and exude white latex when cut. The leaves are heart-shaped at the base and grow to 19 cm long and 8 cm wide on stalks 11–55 mm long. The lower surface is pale cream-green to purple with sparse to dense velvety hairs and prominent venation. The upper surface is dark glossy green and hairless with faintly visible venation. Flowers are 9–14 mm long, 10–15 mm wide and on stalks 6–9 mm long. The corolla is bell-shaped and cream coloured and the basal part is a tube about 5 mm long, 4–4.5 mm wide. The fruit are spindle-shaped to egg-shaped, 20 cm long and 5 cm wide (Forster 1995a, 1996a).

Marsdenia paludicola is known from Mount Tozer and the Glennie Tableland, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. The species occurs within the Cape York (Queensland) Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2008se).

The five known locations of Marsdenia paludicola are at Wasp Gully, Maloneys Springs, Camp Scrub, Mount Tozer, and Hann Creek on the Glennie Tableland (BRI n.d; Landsberg & Clarkson 2004).

There is no information on the numbers of Marsdenia paludicola, however, the species is considered to be uncommon at Mt Tozer and the Glennie Tableland (D. Liddle 1988, cited in Forster 1995a).

The extent of occurrence of Marsdenia paludicola is 3712 km² and the area of occupancy is 232 km² (Landsberg & Clarkson 2004).

The Mount Tozer population of Marsdenia paludicola is reserved in Iron Range National Park. The Glennie Tableland populations occur on unallocated State land (formerly Bromley Holding) (BRI n.d.).

Marsdenia paludicola grows in notophyll vineforest swamps on strongly acidic soils in narrow gorges surrounded by sandstone cliffs (Forster 1995a).

The distribution of Marsdenia paludicola overlaps with The Community of Native Species Dependent on Natural Discharge of Groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin, EPBC Act-listed, threatened ecological community (TSSC 2008se). On the Glennie Tableland, the species grows in close association with the endangered, EPBC Act-listed, Cyathea exilis (Bostock 1991).

Marsdenia paludicola flowers in December and fruits are mature 3– 6 months later (Forster 1996a). The fruits are fusiform-ovoid follicles 20 cm long and 5 cm wide, which split at maturity releasing numerous seeds (Forster 1995a). Seeds of the species have not been seen (Forster 1996a), however, other Marsdenia spp. have a silky tuft at one end which is adapted for dispersal by wind and water (Forster 1995a).

Plants belonging to the Asclepiadaceae are unique among angiosperms in that their pollen structure and pollination mechanism possess specialised floral structures. These structures facilitate, and ensure, both cross-fertilisation and pollination by a specific insect, or group of insects (El-Gazzar & Hamza 1980).

Marsdenia paludicola has a soft velvety covering of hairs, a feature which distinguishes it from the closely related and poorly known, Marsdenia araujacea (Forster 1995a).

The main identified threats to Marsdenia paludicola include inappropriate fire regimes and the potential for localised visitor or settlement pressure (Landsberg & Clarkson 2004). In 1991, the habitat showed evidence of a geological survey and associated disturbance, and the Glennie Tableland swamp site was damaged by a major wildfire in 1993 (B. Gray 1994, cited in Forster 1995a).

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (TSSC 2008se) lists the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program or, if inappropriate, support and enhance existing programs.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, fire ecology, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations/occurrences/remnants.
  • Undertake seed germination and/or vegetative propagation trials to determine the requirements for successful establishment.

In addition, the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (TSSC 2008se) lists the following priority actions:

  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Ensure road widening and maintenance activities (or other infrastructure or development activities) involving substrate or vegetation disturbance in areas where Marsdenia paludicola occurs do not adversely impact on known populations.
  • Control access routes to suitably constrain public access to known sites.
  • Minimise adverse impacts from land use at known sites.
  • Investigate further formal conservation arrangements, management agreements and covenants on private land, and for crown and private land investigate inclusion in reserve tenure if possible.
  • Develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for Marsdenia paludicola.
  • Provide maps of known occurrences to local and state Rural Fire Services and seek inclusion of mitigative measures in bush fire risk management plans, risk register and/or operation maps.
  • Raise awareness of Marsdenia paludicola within the local community.
  • Maintain liaisons with private landholders and land managers of land on which populations occur.
  • Undertake appropriate seed collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.
  • Implement national translocation protocols (Vallee et al. 2004) if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (TSSC 2008se) provides a brief biological overview and management recommendations. In addition, the Cape York Back on Track Biodiversity Plan (EPA 2008) and the Management Program for Protected Plants in Queensland 2006-2010 (EPA 2006b) are 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
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Marsdenia paludicola in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006om) [Internet].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008se) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Work and Other Activities:Disturbance through scientific research Marsdenia paludicola in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006om) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Marsdenia paludicola in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006om) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008se) [Conservation Advice].

Bostock, P.D. (1991). Plant Profile. Cyathea exilis Holtumm (Pteridophyta: Cyathaceae). Austrobaileya. 3(3):565-567.

BRI Collection Records (BRI) (undated). Queensland Herbarium specimens.

El-Gazzar, A. & M.K. Hamza (1980). The subdivision of Asclepiadaceae. Phytologica. 45:Jan-16.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2008). Cape York Back on Track Biodiversity Action Plan. Brisbane, Queensland: Environmental Protection Agency.

Forster, P.I. (1995a). Circumscription of Marsdenia (Asclepiadaceae: Marsdenieae), with a revision of the genus in Australia and Papuasia. Australian Journal of Systematic Botany. 8(5):703-933.

Forster, P.I. (1996a). Asclepiadaceae. In: Orchard, A.E. & A. Wilson, eds. Flora of Australia. 28. Melbourne, Victoria: CSIRO.

Landsberg, J. & J. Clarkson (2004). Threatened Plants of the Cape York Peninsula: A report to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage. Brisbane: Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service.

Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (Qld DERM) (2011b). Management Program for Protected Plants in Queensland 2011-2015. [Online]. Available from:

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008se). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Marsdenia paludicola. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

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.

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). Marsdenia paludicola in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:44:36 +1000.