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 Lepidium catapycnon (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008rg) [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].
    Documents and Websites
Priority Threat Management of Pilbara Species of Conservation Significance (Carwardine, J., S. Nicol, S. Van Leeuwen, B. Walters, J. Firn, A. Reeson, T.G. Martin & I. Chades, 2014).
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Lepidium catapycnon [9397]
Family Brassicaceae:Capparales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Hewson
Infraspecies author  
Reference Brunonia 4 (26 Feb. 1982) 244, fig. 12.
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: Lepidium catapycnon

Common name: Hamersley Lepidium

Other names: Hamersley Catapycnon

Conventionally accepted as Lepidium catapycnon (CHAH 2010).

The Hamersley Lepidium is a short lived perennial herb or shrub growing up to 40 cm high, with stems that zigzag markedly between the leaf nodes (Brown et al. 1998; Hewson 1981, 1982b; Mattiske & Assoc. 1994). The leaves are small, 4 cm long by 2 cm wide, linear, and terete (cylindrical but usually slightly tapering at both ends). They are succulent and papillose (having minute projections on the surface) (Hewson 1981). White flowers, up to 6 mm long, occur as a dense cluster at the tips. Flowers have six stamens (male, pollen-producing part of central flower). The fruit is winged and papillose (Brown et al. 1998; Hewson 1981).

The Hamersley Lepidium is endemic to WA, where it is scattered over the Hamersley Range area of the Pilbara (Brown et al. 1998). The species is recorded from the Newman, Wittenoom, Weeli Wolli Creek and West Angelas areas (WA DEC 2008).

The species' extent of occurrence is approximately 10 280 km2, however the area of occupancy is unknown (WA DEC 2008).

Survey data indicates that there are 230 records of the Hammersley Lepidium, with some containing over 1000 plants (Rio Tinto 2011). It is unknown how many populations the data corresponds to, although other data suggests there are 23 populations (WA DEC 2008).

Although this species has not been recorded in any conservation estate (Brown et al. 1998), populations may exist within Karijini National Park, as it is recorded immediately north and east of the park boundaries (WA CALM 1999a).

Preferred Hamersley Lepidium habitat includes:

  • stony hill slopes such as the uplands of the Hamersley Range plateau (Rio Tinto 2011)
  • open woodland in usually hilly areas, more frequently on south facing slopes (Rio Tinto 2011)
  • hill hummock grasslands (Rio Tinto 2011)
  • road verges and cuttings (Hewson 1981).

Associated species include Limestone Spinifex (Triodia wiseana), Hard Spinifex (Triodia basedowii), Blue Mallee (Eucalyptus gamophylla), Eucalyptus xerothermica, Snappy Gum (E. leucophloia), Hill's Tabletop Wattle (Acacia hilliana), Grey Whorled Wattle (A. adoxa), Two-Veined Wattle (A. bivenosa), Black Gidgee (A. pruinocarpa), Bastard Mulga (A. sibirica) and Curry Wattle (A. spondylophylla) (Brown et al. 1998; Hopper et al. 1990; Mattiske & Assoc. 1994).

Soils on which the Hammersley Lepidium has been found are recorded as skeletal, red brown and gritty (Brown et al. 1998).

Hamersley Lepidium flowers mainly in August to January (Brown et al. 1998; Hewson 1981; Hopper et al. 1990), although Mattiske and Associates (1994) recorded plants flowering and seeding in November and March.

The Hamersley Lepidium is a disturbance opportunist, though it has been found growing in undisturbed Hummock grasslands at some sites (Mattiske & Assoc. 1994). Over time, as the species matures, it may be displaced by Spinifex (Triodia sp.) (Rio Tinto 2011).

Requirements for breaking seed dormancy in the Hammersley Lepidium may be complex, with no germination after a five week period under basic light, temperature and moisture conditions. The species' seed may require time within the soil for germination success (Cochrane 2000). This has implications for rehabilitation of sites using the species (Cochrane 2000) and also some land management practices that disturb soil-stored seed too frequently.

The Hammersley Lepidium may be confused with the Slender Peppercress (L. platypetalum) as both have distinctive linear, more or less terete leaves. However, the Hammersley Lepidium is distinguishable by its characteristically zigzag shaped branches (Hewson 1981).

The main threat to Hamersley Lepidium is mining, as many populations occur on mining tenements (WA DEC 2008).

The main potential threats to the species include roadworks, as many populations are on or adjacent to frequently graded mining/exploration tracks (Brown et al. 1998), and invasion of the introduced Ruby Dock (Acetosa vesicaria), which may prevent establishment of this species in some areas (Mattiske & Assoc. 1994).

Management documents relevant to the Hamersley Lepidium are at the start of the profile. The RTIO (WA) Significant Species Management Plan (Rio Tinto 2011) includes the Hamersley Lepidium and management actions to help protect the species from mining impacts. The Karijini National Park Management Plan 1999-2009 (WA CALM 1999a) includes actions to protect the Hammersley Lepidium if it is discovered within the national park's boundaries.

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 Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lepidium catapycnon (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008rg) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Lepidium catapycnon in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006my) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lepidium catapycnon (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008rg) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lepidium catapycnon (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008rg) [Conservation Advice].

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

Cochrane, A. (2000). The germination requirements of seeds of the rare Hamersley Lepidium catapycnon (Brassicaeae). Report to BHP Iron Ore Pty Ltd by Department of Conservation and Land Management.

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:

Hewson, H.J. (1981). The genus Lepidium L. (Brassicaceae) in Australia. Brunonia. 4:217-308.

Hewson, H.J. (1982b). Brassicaceae. In: Flora of Australia. 8:231-357. Canberra: AGPS.

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.

Mattiske, E.M. & Associates (1994). Assessment of Three Gazetted Rare Plants: Daviesia microcarpa, Lepidium catapycnon and Pityrodia scabra. Perth: Mattiske & Associates.

Rio Tinto (2011). RTIO (WA) Significant Species Management Plan. [Online]. Available from:

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008rg). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lepidium catapycnon. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2008). Records held in DEC's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA DEC.

Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (1999a). Karijini National Park Management Plan 1999-2009. [Online]. Available from:

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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). Lepidium catapycnon in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:35:52 +1000.