One-Headed Smokebush Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephelatum Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009)

Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)
© The Western Australian, Department of Conservation and Land Management, 2004


Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Policy Statements Nos. 44 and 50.

IRPs outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities, and begin the recovery process.

CALM is committed to ensuring that Critically Endangered taxa are conserved through the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans or Interim Recovery Plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and always within one year of endorsement of that rank by the Minister.

This Interim Recovery Plan will operate from June 2004 to May 2009 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that this IRP will be reviewed after five years and the need for a full Recovery Plan will be assessed.

This IRP was given regional approval on 4 June, 2004 and was approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 22 June, 2004. The allocation of staff time and provision of funds identified in this Interim Recovery Plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting CALM, as well as the need to address other priorities.

Information in this IRP was accurate at June 2004.


Scientific Name: Conospermum densiflorum Lindl. subsp. unicephalatum E.M.Benn Common Name: One -headed Smokebush
Family: Proteaceae Flowering Period: September-November
CALM Region: Midwest CALM District: Moora
Shires: Moora, Victoria Plains, Gingin Recovery Team: Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team

Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australias Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; FloraBase - Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia.

Current status: Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 on 28 November 1997. It currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN 2000) Red List Category Endangered (EN) under criteria B1ab(iii)+B2ab(iii) as it is only known from five populations totalling 295 mature plants occurring over a narrow geographic range, with some decline in quality of habitat. The species is also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The main threats are habitat fragmentation, road and rail maintenance, weed invasion, inappropriate fire regimes, and lack of associated vegetation .

Description: Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum is an erect perennial shrub to 0.6 m. The stems and foliage have long, spreading hairs. The leaves are crowded, filiform, ca. 30-40 mm long, with white, spreading hairs. The peduncle is leafless, with a single, almost globular, head-like inflorescence which is 1.5 cm in diameter. The floral bracts are slender and hairy and as long as the flowers. The flowers are tubular and two-lipped, ca. 10 mm long, and bluish-white in colour (Patrick and Brown 2001).

Habitat requirements: Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum has been recorded from near Gillingarra in the Moora District and also from near Gingin in the Swan Region. It grows in low lying clay soil and also on gravel.

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum comprises the area of occupancy of the known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; remnant vegetation that surrounds or links populations; and additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the taxon but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations.

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Given that this taxon is listed as Endangered it is considered that all known habitat is habitat critical, and all populations, including translocated populations are important.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum will also improve the status of other Declared Rare Flora (DRF) and Priority flora that occur in the habitat. These are Calothamnus pachystachyus (Priority 4) and Dryandra serratuloides subsp. serratuloides (DRF).

International Obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australias responsibilities under that convention. The taxon is not listed under any specific international treaty, however, and therefore this IRP does not affect Australias obligations under any other international agreements.

Role and interests of indigenous people: There are no known indigenous communities interested or involved in the management of areas affected by this plan and, according to the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register, no registered sites are known from the habitat of the species. Input and involvement will be sought from any indigenous groups that have an active interest in the areas that are habitat for Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum, and this is discussed in the recovery actions.

Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts as all populations are located on rail and road reserves.

Evaluation of the Plans Performance: CALM, in conjunction with the Recovery Team will evaluate the performance of this IRP. The plan is to be reviewed within five years.

Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:

  1. Westnet Rail and Main Roads WA (MRWA) have been notified of the presence of Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum on lands they manage.
  2. Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at most populations along the road and rail line.
  3. Dashboard stickers and posters describing the significance of DRF markers have been produced and distributed.
  4. Extensive searches for new populations have been carried out along rail and road verges and some of the nature reserves in areas surrounding known populations.
  5. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority has endeavoured to propagate the taxon from tissue culture and cuttings, but with minimal success.
  6. There have been several collections of seed from populations 1, 2 and 4 of Conospermum densiflorum subsp. unicephalatum by the Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).
  7. Testing for resistance to Phytophthora spp. has been carried out by CALM. Three plants were tested and were found to be resistant to the disease.
  8. CALM staff regularly monitor populations of this taxon.
  9. The Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MDTFRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their annual report to CALM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

IRP Objective: The objective of this Interim Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the taxon in the wild.

Recovery criteria

Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by ten percent or more over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

Recovery actions:

  1. Coordinate recovery actions
  2. Map critical habitat
  3. Undertake weed control
  4. Install DRF markers
  5. Compare genetics of the subspecies
  6. Conduct further surveys
  7. Develop and implement a fire management strategy
  8. Collect and store seed
  9. Monitor populations
  10. Promote awareness
  11. Obtain biological and ecological information
  12. Liaise with relevant land managers
  13. Start translocation process
  14. Stimulate the germination of soil-stored seed
  15. Review the need for a full Recovery Plan