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 Banksia brownii
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Banksia brownii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008adb) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, a recovery plan is likely to provide for the research and management actions necessary to stop the decline of, and support the recovery of, this species (17/10/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan] as Banksia brownii.
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Montane Heath and Thicket of the South West Botanical Province, above 900m asl (Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket community) Interim Recovery Plan 1999-2002 (Barrett, S., 2000a) [Recovery Plan] as Banksia brownii.
 
Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (Department of the Environment, 2014a) [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] as Banksia brownii.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Declared Rare & Poorly Known Flora in the Albany District. Western Australian wildlife management program no. 20 (Robinson, C.J. & D.J. Coates, 1995) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Critically Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013) as Banksia brownii
Scientific name Banksia brownii [8277]
Family Proteaceae:Proteales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author R.Br.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae -- Suppl. 1: Proteaceas Novas: 37 (1830).
Other names Sirmuellera brownii [37124]
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

The current conservation status of Brown's Banksia, Banksia brownii, 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 Rare on the Wildlife Conservation (Rare Flora) Notice 2008(2), under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Scientific name: Banksia brownii

Common Name: Brown's Banksia, Feather-leaved Banksia

Synonym: Sirmuellera brownii

Two forms of Brown's Banksia are recognised: a northern form confined to the Stirling Range with short thin hard leaves, and a southern form with long wide soft leaves that occurs north and east of Albany (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Brown's Banksia belongs to the family Proteaceae, in the Spicigerae series (species with hooked styles and cylindrical spikes), which also includes the Water Rush Banksia (B. occidentalis), Hairpin Banksia (B. spinulosa) and the threatened Granite Banksia (B. verticillata). Brown's Banksia is closely related to the Water Rush Banksia which has smaller, deep red flowers and narrow, sparsely toothed leaves (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

Brown's Banksia is a smooth-barked shrub with linear leaves, 3–12 cm long and 5–10 mm wide, which are finely divided to the midrib, giving them a feathery appearance. The leaves are dark green and hairless above, but white and woolly beneath. Cylindrical reddish-brown flower-spikes form at the ends of the lower branchlets and underlie the upper branchlets (Brown et al. 1998). Flowers are pale brown (George 1999) or reddish to golden brown (Rye & Hopper 1981). The species is usually an erect bushy shrub of 2–3 m, but in sheltered gullies it may become an openly branched small tree to 6 m (Rye & Hopper 1981). On some peaks of the Stirling Range it is a low spreading shrub (George 1999; Hopper et al. 1990).

This species is confined to the Stirling Range/Albany district of south-western Western Australia. It extends as small isolated populations over a range of approximately 90 km from Stirling Range National Park south to Albany and Cheyne Beach (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Brown's Banksia is in cultivation at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, and Burrendong Arboretum in Wellington, NSW, as well as Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth (Bunn et al. 1992; Meredith & Richardson 1990). The species is also being grown commercially for its attractive foliage. Seed germinates in two weeks and it is not easily grown in cultivation particularly in humid areas. A specimen 5 m high has been reported from San Francisco, United States (Wrigley & Fagg 1989).

There are 17 extant populations of Brown's Banksia, with 10 populations presumed locally extinct since 1996. Eight of the known extant populations occur in the Stirling Range National Park with other populations occurring at Millbrook, Cheyne Road, and South Sister Nature Reserves, Waychinicup and Hassell National Parks and the Vancouver Peninsula. Three populations are considered to be close to extinction (Hassel National Park, Hassel Beach Road and Southeast Ellen Peak) with less than 15 mature plants remaining in each of these populations. At least four of the populations have greater than 200 plants (Yungermere, Success, Waychinicup and Cheyne Nature Reserve) and three have an estimated 100 to 200 plants (South Sister, Mt Hassell, Vancouver Peninsula) (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

Table: details of populations from Robinson and Coates (1995) with any extra information derived from Kelly and Coates (1995) shown in parentheses.

LocationLand StatusYear of survey -
number of plants
Condition
MillbrookMillbrook NR1990
2000 (~1000)
Diseased
Hassell HwyHassell NP1983
84 (87)
Seedlings, (dieback, canker?)
Millbrook RdShire road verge1992
11 (~150)
Diseased (dieback, some canker)
Res. 35381 (N King River)Shire reserve1993
4 (4)
Burnt/dieback
South SisterSouth Sister NR1989
200 (~300)
Diseased (dieback)
Hazard RdShire road verge1992
13 (7)
Diseased (dieback)
Phillips RdShire road verge1992
3 (2)
Diseased (dieback)
Vancouver PeninsulaShire reserve1991
58 (320)
Armillaria, Phytophthora cinnamomi, (some canker)
Hassell Beach RdWaychinicup NP1993
65 (55)
(Seedlings, postfire, dieback)
WaychinicupWA Water Authority1993
41 (13)
Seedlings, poor, (dieback)
Mt HassellStirling Range NP1993
200+ (377)
(Dieback), 30 dead
YungermereStirling Range NP1990
c. 100 (1000+)
Disease, (seedlings, dieback nearby)
Bluff KnollStirling Range NP1993
0 (0)
Postfire, (dieback)
Mt SuccessStirling Range NP1988
(?)
(Postfire, dieback)
MondurupStirling Range NP1985
>10 (< 10)
(Not recently surveyed)
Ellen Peak (Moongoongoonderup)Stirling Range NP1993
300+ (several hundred)
Fair, seedlings, (postfire, good)
Mt Hassel South (Ellen Peak)Stirling Range NP1993
300+ (165)
(Seedlings, postfire, dieback)
(below Ellen Peak)Stirling Range NP(6)dieback
Note: NR = Nature Reserve; NP = National Park.

All except two populations (Yungermere, Moongoongoonderup) are infected with Phytophthora and one (Vancouver Peninsula) is also infected with Armillaria. Aerial canker infection has been recorded at three sites (Hassell Hwy, Millbrook Rd, Vancouver Peninsula), but seems to cause minimal damage (Kelly & Coates 1995; Robinson & Coates 1995).

All populations are considered important for the long-term recovery and survival of the species (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

At least eight populations occur in the Stirling Range National Park with other populations occurring in the Hassel and Waychinicup National Parks, and the South Sister and Millbrook Nature Reserves (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

This species grows in shallow sand over laterite in low open-woodland, in shale gullies in woodland, and in rocky soil among low heath on mountains. In the Stirling Ranges the species grows on mountain tops and slopes, in thicket and mallee-heath on rocky sand clay loam soils at altitudes between 500 and 1100 m asl. Southern populations occur in heath and woodland on gradual slopes in gravelly lateritic sands (Brown et al. 1998; George 1981; George 1999; Kelly & Coates 1995; Leigh & Briggs 1992; Robinson & Coates 1995; Taylor & Hopper 1988).

The associated vegetation is rich in proteaceous (Banksia, Dryandra, Lambertia, Isopogon, Hakea, Adenanthos) and myrtaceous (Eucalyptus, Agonis, Kunzea, Beaufortia) species (Day et al. 1997; Kelly & Coates 1995). Annual rainfall is between 600–800 mm (George 1996b).

Brown's Banksia occurs within the Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket ecological community which is listed as endangered under the EPBC Act. Brown's Banksia also occurs in the Montane Mallee Thicket threatened ecological community (Mallee-heath and mallee-thicket community on mid to upper slopes of Stirling Range mountains and hills) which was assessed by the Western Australian Threatened Ecological Communities Scientific Committee. The species occurs within the South Coast (Western Australia) Natural Resource Management Region (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).
Habitat critical to the survival of Brown's Banksia includes the area occupied by current important populations and areas of similar habitat that surround important populations. Such areas provide potential habitat for natural range extension and allow pollinators to move between populations. Similar habitat may also contain important populations of Brown's Banksia or be suitable for future translocations or other recovery actions intended to create important populations (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

Brown's Banksia is a non-sprouting species that is killed by fire and regenerates solely from seed (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Brown's Banksia flowers in 4–6 years from seed (George 1996b; Taylor & Hopper 1988). Flowering time seems to be erratic. In two populations studied (one of 400 plants, the other of 200, both north-east of Albany), flowering began in April. The number of inflorescences with open flowers peaked in June, with considerable variation between individuals (Day et al. 1997). Taylor and Hopper (1988) recorded flowering peaks in January, April and June while Kelly and Coates (1995) recorded flowering from March to July with an isolated record for January. Most flowers opened during the day rather than at night (Day et al. 1997; Kelly & Coates 1995). Individual trees flower for 4–15 weeks and the production of flower spikes (inflorescences) is generally proportional to plant size, but may be affected by water availability (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Pollinators carrying high pollen loads from this species are New Holland Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae), Red Wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata), Bush Rats (Rattus fuscipes) and Honey Possums (Tarsipes rostratus) (Day et al. 1997; Kelly & Coates 1995). When these animals were excluded, inflorescences remained barren. Similarly, exclusion of honey bees (Apis mellifera) also reduced fruiting success. The ability to set at least some fruit when pollinators are excluded indicated at least partial self-compatibility. Honeyeaters foraged preferentially on inflorescences with one to two thirds of their flowers open, and moved more frequently between flowers on the same plant rather than different plants (Day et al. 1997). Different combinations of pollinators may be important at different sites (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Fruiting success is typically low, with about half the inflorescences failing to form follicles. Most follicles form in the middle third of the inflorescence for reasons relating to nutrient supply and pollinator behaviour (Day et al. 1997). Fruiting success is not related to total number of inflorescences per tree, but linked to inflorescence length. A mean of 1.87% of flowers form follicles, a rate comparable with other non-sprouting species. Inflorescence consumers (mainly insects) may reduce fruit set (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Brown's Banksia is one of the few Banksia species with only one seed per follicle. While fire opens follicles, some seed is shed (and germinates) between fires. More seed is stored on living than dead plants and more seed survives and is released from living than dead plants during fire. Seed release is completed within 97 days of fire. Post-dispersal predation of seed is high for seed scattered on the surface, but lower for seed buried 10 mm deep. Artificial seed storage is successful, with seed stored at room temperature retaining 83–100% viability for up to seven years (Kelly & Coates 1995).

Outcrossing for two populations was estimated using two different methods. Results indicated that outcrossing in these populations was amongst the lowest reported for undisturbed Banksia populations, perhaps because Brown's Banksia is killed by fire. Most of the inbreeding was the result of self-fertilisation (Sampson et al. 1994). Sampson and colleagues (1994) suggested the long distance dispersal of pollen by birds and selection against inbred seed as the reasons for a lack of structure in the populations studied.

The main potential threats to Brown's Banksia include habitat loss, disturbance and modification.

The main identified threat to Brown's Banksia is its high susceptibility to dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. P. cinnamomi is an introduced soil-borne plant pathogen that can result in epidemic destructive root disease. The impact of the disease on plant communities is different between sites, being dependent on the species susceptibility, nutrient status, water, temperature and soil type. The greatest impact usually occurs where soils are infertile and drainage is poor. Brown's Banksia is highly susceptible to P. cinnamomi infestation. Of the current known populations of Brown's Banksia, only one is considered to occur in healthy vegetation and remains unaffected by P. cinnamomi. Ten populations have become locally extinct primarily due to P. cinnamomi. Humans and feral and native animals can act as vectors of P. cinnamomi aiding the rapid spread of the disease, enabling it to establish new centres of infestation in previously non-infested areas (CALM 2003; Gilfillan & Barrett 2008). Human activity is thought to have spread the pathogen to many Brown's Banksia populations in the Stirling Range through the transport of infected soil as a result of recreational and other human activities (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008; Gillen & Watson 1993, Wills 1993). Other disease threats to Brown's Banksia include Armillaria (root rot) and aerial canker infection (Zythiostroma sp.) which has caused mortality and limb death (Brown et aI. 1998; Gilfillan & Barrett 2008; Kelly & Coates 1995).

Plants are killed by fire and rely entirely on seed for regeneration. Because of this, disease control (especially for P. cinnamomi) needs to ensure survival of associated food and shelter plants for pollinators. The species reaches reproductive maturity after 5–6 years, therefore fire frequencies should be no less than ten years, and in dieback affected areas fire should be excluded to maximise seedling survival (Kelly & Coates 1995).

The National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008) aims to achieve two major objectives; the abatement of identified threats to improve the conservation status of Brown's Banksia in the wild; and ex situ seed storage from as diverse a range of populations as possible for future translocations and to maintain genetic diversity.The Albany District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (ADTFRT) is coordinating recovery actions for Brown's Banksia.

Recovery actions recommended by the National Recovery Plan (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008) include:

  • Continue, and increase where appropriate, the current regime of aerial spraying of populations with phosphite. Also, further refine phosphite application techniques and consider alternative application techniques.

  • Continue regular monitoring of all populations annually including monitoring the rate of spread of Phytophthora cinnamomi, effectiveness of phosphite application, post-fire seedling recruitment and fruiting success.

  • Further develop and implement a fire management strategy.

  • Collect seed and store for long-term conservation and for future translocations. Seed is required from all populations to maximise the genetic diversity of ex situ material.

  • Conduct further surveys to determine other areas where Brown's Banksia may occur.

  • Gain improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of Brown's Banksia to provide a better scientific basis for management of the wild populations, including: investigating factors reducing post-fire recruitment other than fire interval and P. cinnamomi; determining the population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size for the species; and investigating the role of native animals in the spread of P. cinnamomi.

  • Map habitat critical to the survival of the species.

    Application of phosphite promises to control dieback caused by Phytophthora in some populations (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008). Spraying with the fungicide phosphonate twice at six-weekly intervals appears to give full protection from Phytophthora for up to three years, with no detectable phytotoxic effect (Kelly & Coates 1995).

  • The National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii provides information on the ecology and management for Browns Banksia (Gilfillan & Barrett 2008).

    The Montane Heath and Thicket of the South West Botanical Province, above 900m asl (Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket community) Interim Recovery Plan 1999-2002 (Barrett 2000b) provides information on the management of this ecological community, where Brown's Banksia is known to occur.

    Western Australia Wildlife Program No. 20: Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Albany District (Robinson & Coates 1995).

    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
    Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Banksia brownii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006cw) [Internet].
    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].
    National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan].
    Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Banksia brownii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008adb) [Conservation Advice].
    Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Banksia brownii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006cw) [Internet].
    National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii (Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett, 2008) [Recovery Plan].

    Barrett, S. (2000a). Montane Heath and Thicket of the South West Botanical Province, above 900m asl (Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket community) Interim Recovery Plan 1999-2002. [Online]. Wanneroo, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/montane/index.html.

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

    Bunn, R.E., K.W. Dixon, R.A. Fryer & P.R. Wycherley (1992). The ex-situ conservation challenge of the Western Australian flora. In: Butler, G., L. Meredith & M. Richardson, eds. Conservation of Rare or Threatened Plants in Australasia: Conf. proc - Protective Custody - Ex situ plant conservation in Australasia Mar91. Page(s) 43-50. ANBG: Canberra, Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service.

    Day, D.A., B.G.Collins & R.G.Rees (1997). Reproductive biology of the rare and endangered Banksia brownii Baxter ex R.Br. (Proteaceae). Australian Journal of Ecology. 22:307-315.

    Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) (2003). Phytophthora cinnamomi and Disease Caused by it, Volume I - Management Guidelines. [Online]. https://www.dec.wa.gov.au/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,2123/gid,428/task,cat_view/.

    Department of the Environment (2014a). Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. [Online]. Canberra; ACT: Department of the Environment. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/threat-abatement-plan-disease-natural-ecosystems-caused-phytophthora-cinnamomi.

    George, A.S. (1981). The genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae). Nuytsia. 3(3):239-473. Perth, Department of Agriculture.

    George, A.S. (1996b). The Banksia Book. Sydney: SGAP.

    George, A.S. (1999). Banksia. In: Orchard, A.E., H.S. Thompson & P.M. McCarthy, eds. Flora of Australia. 17B:175-251. Canberra: ABRS and Melbourne: CSIRO.

    Gilfillan, S. & S. Barrett (2008). National Recovery Plan for Feather-Leaved Banksia Banksia brownii. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/b-brownii.html.

    Gillen, K., & Watson, J.R. (1993). Controlling Phytophthora cinnamomi in the mountains of south Western Australia. Australian Ranger. 27:18-20.

    Hopper, S.D., S. van Leeuwen, A.P. Brown & S.J. Patrick (1990). Western Australia's Endangered Flora and other plants under consideration for declaration. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Consrvation and Land Management.

    Kelly, A. & D.Coates (1995). Population dynamics, reproductive biology and conservation of Banksia brownii and Banksia verticillata. ANCA ESP Project No. 352. WA, Como, CALM.

    Leigh, J.H. & J.D. Briggs (Eds) (1992). Threatened Australian Plants. Overview and Case Studies. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Meredith, L.D. & M.M. Richardson (1990). Rare or Threatened Australian Plant Species in Cultivation in Australia. Report Series No. 15. Page(s) 1-114. Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Robinson, C.J. & D.J. Coates (1995). Declared Rare & Poorly Known Flora in the Albany District. Western Australian wildlife management program no. 20. [Online]. Como, Western Australia: Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

    Rye, B.L. & S.D.Hopper (1981). A Guide to the Gazetted Rare Flora of Western Australia. Report No. 42. Page(s) 1-211. Perth: Department of Fisheries & Wildlife WA.

    Sampson, J.F., B.G.Collins & D.J.Coates (1994). Mixed mating in Banksia brownii Baxter ex R.Br. (Proteaceae). Australian Journal of Botany. 42:103-111.

    Taylor, A. & S.D. Hopper (1988). The Banksia Atlas. In: Australian Flora and Fauna Series. 8. Canberra: AGPS.

    Wills, R.T. (1993). The ecological impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi in the Stirling range National Park, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology. 18:145-159.

    Wrigley, J.W. & M. Fagg (1989). Banksias, Waratahs and Grevilleas and all other plants in the Australian Proteaceae family. Sydney, NSW: William Collins Publishers.

    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). Banksia brownii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:06:33 +1000.