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 Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [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 Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Persoonia acerosa Threatened Species Information (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 2000ab) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines - Persoonia acerosa (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 2000ac) [Internet].
NSW:Persoonia acerosa - profile (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH), 2012g) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
Scientific name Persoonia acerosa [7232]
Family Proteaceae:Proteales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Schultes & J.H.Schultes
Infraspecies author  
Reference Mantissa ... Systematis Vegetabilium 3 (Jul.-Dec. 1827) 269.
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.

Other illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Persoonia acerosa

Common name: Needle Geebung

Other common names: Mossy Geebung

Conventionally accepted as Persoonia acerosa (CHAH 2010).

The Needle Geebung is a small, erect to spreading shrub up to 2 m tall with a greyish-brown stem. Young branchlets are smooth to sparsely haired. Its bright green, crowded pine-like foliage is a distinguishing feature. The small, smooth, needle-like leaves are channeled on the upper surface, 1.2–2.3 cm long, about 0.5 mm wide, and strongly incurved. When young, new leaves may be hairy but quickly become glabrous (smooth). Flower clusters are produced along leafy shoots, not at the branch tips, as in related species. The yellow tubular flowers are 8–10 mm, with small stalks 1–2 mm long, spreading to suberect, glabrous or sparsely hairy. Fruits are pear-shaped, yellowish-green with brownish-red markings, to 14 mm long and 10 mm in diameter (Blombery & Maloney 1992; NSW NPWS 2000ab; NSW OEH 2012g; Plantnet 2012; Weston 1995b).

The Needle Geebung has been recorded on Newnes Plateau in the north, Hilltop in the south, Lithgow/Jenolan in the west and Cordeaux Dam catchment in the east (ALA 2013; Smith 2007 pers. comm.). The species is mainly recorded in the Katoomba, Wentworth Falls and Springwood in the Blue Mountains (ALA 2013). The populations at Hilltop and Jenolan may be extinct (NSW NPWS 2000ac).

The Needle Geebung has been extensively surveyed, however large tracts of low quality suitable habitat have not been surveyed (NPWS 2000ac).

The Needle Geebung is known from the Blue Mountains National Park, one historical record from Kanangra-Boyd National Park and areas managed by Blue Mountains City Council at Woodford Dam, a reserve at Leura, Adelina Falls at Lawson and Hassans Walls Reserve at Lithgow (NSW NPWS 2000ab).

The Needle Geebung grows in heath, scrubby low-woodland or dry sclerophyll forest (Blombery & Maloney 1992; Harden 1991; NSW NPWS 2000ab; Weston 1995b). The species is found mostly on ridge-tops and plateau areas, growing in sandy topsoils over clayey subsoils (NSW NPWS 2000ab). Associated overstorey species include Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus sieberi), Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita), Hard-leaved Scribbly Gum (E. sclerophylla) and occasionally Blue Mountains Mallee Ash (E. stricta) and Privet-leaved Stringybark (E. ligustrina) (NSW NPWS 2000ab). Understorey species include Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa), Flaky-barked Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium sensu lato), Finger Hakea (Hakea dactyloides sensu lato), Narrow-leaf Platysace (Platysace linearifolia), Conesticks (Petrophile pulchella), Sunshine Wattle (A. terminalis) and Blunt Leaf Wattle (A. obtusifolia) (NSW NPWS 2000ab).

The Needle Geebung occurs on clayey sandstone, sandstone admixtures, laterite and gravels, which are well drained but infertile and often stony (Blombery & Maloney 1992; Harden 1991; NSW NPWS 2000ab; Weston 1995b). The species is recorded from 550–1000 m above sea level and prefers areas with reduced competition and an open canopy, such as roadsides and trails (NSW NPWS 2000ab; NSW OEH 2012g).

The distribution of the Needle Geebung overlaps with the following EPBC Act-listed threatened ecological communities:

  • Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest
  • Cumberland Plain Shale Woodlands and Shale-Gravel Transition Forest
  • Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
  • Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone.

The Needle Geebung flowers from December to May (Bernhardt & Weston 1996; Weston 1995b) and is pollinated by native plaster bees (Leioproctus spp.) and reed bees (Exoneura spp.) (Bernhardt & Weston 1996). The species may hybridise with the Broad-leaf Geebung (Persoonia levis), the Myrtle Geebung (P. myrtilloides) and possibly the Narrow-leaved Geebung (P. linearis) where they grow together (Plantnet 2012). The species may live for up to 20 years (NPWS 2000ab).

The Needle Geebung is fire sensitive (NSW OEH 2012g). Adults are generally killed by fire. Recruitment is solely by seed with seedlings seen most frequently after disturbance or fire events. Disturbance is not essential for germination, although undisturbed sites tend to support lower numbers, while sites such as ridge-top trail margins can support up to 40 plants over a few hundred metres (NSW NPWS 2000ab).

The Needle Geebung is readily identified by the channel on the upper surface of its leaves (Waratah Software undated) and can be surveyed at any time of the year, although identification is easier during the flowering period. Disturbed margins (road and trail verges), the edges bushland that have been cleared and, in particular, previously cleared ridges are more likely to support the species, however effort should not be restricted only to these areas (NPWS 2000ac).

Identified threats to the Needle Geebung include (NSW NPWS 2000ab, 2000ac; NSW OEH 2012g):

Loss and degradation of habitat

Clearing for urban development and small rural lots in the upper and central Blue Mountains is a threat to populations and the habitat of the Needle Geebung. As the species prefers disturbance margins such as trail edges, it is at risk of continued frequent maintenance activities preventing seedbank establishment and causing local extinction.

Infection by the root rot fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi

This disease is known to kill individual Needle Geebung plants. The fungus may be transmitted into uninfected populations by maintenance and slashing activities, recreational vehicles or bushwalkers.

Inappropriate fire regimes

Hazard reduction burns and other anthropogenic ignitions have increased fire frequency and may cause localised extinction.

Recovery actions for the Needle Geebung include (NSW OEH 2012g):

  • Protect known habitat areas from clearing and disturbance.
  • Following burning, protect populations (where possible) from further fires until plants have reached reproductive maturity.
  • Control threatening weeds where necessary. Avoid spraying weeds close to Needle Geebung plants to ensure they are not impacted by poison.
  • Mark Needle Geebung sites and potential habitat onto maps used for planning road maintenance work.
  • Erect on-site markers to alert maintenance staff and road-users to the presence of this species.
  • Ensure that personnel planning and undertaking hazard reduction burns are able to identify the species and are aware of its habitat.
  • Monitor populations for the impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Management plans relevant to the Needle Geebung are at the start of the profile. Other relevant documents include:

  • Blue Mountains Plan of Management (NSW NPWS 2001v)
  • Kanangra-Boyd National Park Plan of Management (NSW NPWS 2001u)
  • Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-Rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi (EA 2001m).

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) Persoonia acerosa in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qn) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Apis mellifera (Honey Bee, Apiary Bee) The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [Conservation Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Persoonia acerosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008en) [Conservation Advice].

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

Bernhardt, P. & P.H. Weston (1996). The pollination ecology of Persoonia in eastern Australia. Telopea. 6(4):775-804.

Blombery, A.M. & B. Maloney (1992). The Proteaceae of the Sydney Region. Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from:

Environment Australia (EA) (2001m). Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. [Online]. Available from:

Harden, G.J. (ed.) (1991). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Two. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2000ab). Persoonia acerosa Threatened Species Information. [Online]. Available from:

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2000ac). Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines - Persoonia acerosa. [Online]. Available from:

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2001u). Kanangra Boyd National Park Plan of Management. [Online]. Department of Environment and Climate Change. Available from:

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2001v). Blue Mountains National Park Plan of Management. [Online]. Available from:

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) (2012g). Persoonia acerosa - profile. [Online]. Available from:

PlantNET (2012). The Plant Information Network System. [Online]. Sydney, Australia: The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. Available from:

Smith, N. (2007). Personal communication. Royal Botanic Gardens.

Waratah Software (undated). Banksias & Grevilleas and other members of the Proteaceae family of the Blue Mountains National Park. [Online]. Available from:

Weston, P.H. (1995b). Subfam. 1. Persoonioideae. In: Flora of Australia. 16:47-125. Melbourne, Victoria: CSIRO.

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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). Persoonia acerosa in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:15:32 +1000.