National recovery plan for the Scarp Darwinia (Darwinia apiculata)
Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, 2009
- Scientific Name: Darwinia apiculata
- Common Name: Scarp Darwinia
- Family: Myrtaceae
- Flowering Period: October to November
- DEC Region: Swan
- DEC District: Perth Hills
- Shires: Kalamunda (Pop 1) and Mundaring (Pop 2)
- Recovery Team: Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT)
- City: Gosnells (Pop 3)
Illustrations and/or further information:
Atkins, K. (2008) Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia. Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Evans, R., Willers, N. and Mitchell, D. (2003) Threatened Flora of Swan Region. Unpublished report to the Department of Conservation and Land Management and Environment Australia; Marchant, N. G. and Wheeler, J. R. (1987) Flora of the Perth Region, Western Australian Herbarium, Western Australia; Western Australian Herbarium (2008) FloraBase -Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia.http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/ .
Darwinia apiculata was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in 1987 and is ranked as Endangered (EN) under Red List (IUCN 1994) criteria B1+2ce due to the severe fragmentation of populations and continuing decline in the number of mature individuals. Threats include inappropriate fire regimes, track maintenance, weed invasion, dieback disease, rubbish dumping, trampling, mining activities, and the development of small tracks bisecting the habitat. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
A densely branched rounded shrub 40-50 cm tall. Its specific name refers to the scattered, linear leaves (6 mm x 0.5 mm) with distinctive sharply point (apiculate) tips. It is largely glabrous, with slender, red young branches and simple 4-8 flowered, terminal inflorescences held erect. Petals are green and often tinged with red. Calyx lobes are short and stamens are half the length of the petals. The style is red. The dried floral parts surround indehiscent fruits, with one or rarely two seeds. Superficially resembling Darwinia helichrysoides and D. oederoides, it can be distinguished from them by its calyx lobes, corolla tubes, densely branched habitat, and smaller bracts and bracteoles. The species appears to prefer an open canopy and flowering has been recorded in October (Kelly et al., 1990). Additional details are available in the taxonomic description provided in Section 6.
Darwinia apiculata is endemic to the Darling Range where it is currently known from three populations. Habitat consists of open jarrah-marri woodland on shallow gravely soil over laterite, or open heathland over sandy loams with granite boulders.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations:
Habitat critical to the survival of the species includes the area of occupancy of all known populations, areas of similar habitat surrounding known populations (i.e. shallow gravely soils over continuous laterite and sandy loams with granite boulders - these provide potential habitat for natural range extension), remnant vegetation that surrounds and links populations (this is necessary to allow pollinators to move between populations), the local catchment of the surface and possibly ground waters that maintain the habitat of the species and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable sites for future translocations.
Given that this species is listed as Endangered and known from just three populations, it is considered that all known habitat for wild and any future translocated populations is habitat critical to its survival, and that all wild and any future translocated populations are important populations.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities:
Darwinia apiculata will help protect other threatened and priority species and the ecological community in which they are located. The habitat of Population 1 supports a population of Acacia anomala (DRF, Vulnerable), the habitat of Population 2 supports six conservation-listed flora species and the habitat of Subpopulation 3b supports a further six conservation-listed flora species. These species will benefit from actions that improve the habitat quality of Darwinia apiculata
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 Australia’s responsibilities under that Convention. Darwinia apiculata is not specifically listed under any international treaty, and therefore this plan does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Role and interests of Indigenous people:
A search of the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register has not identified any sites occurring in close proximity to Darwinia apiculata populations. Where no role is identified for the Indigenous community associated with this species in the development of the recovery plan, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species. Indigenous involvement in the implementation of recovery actions will be encouraged.
The advice of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and Department of Indigenous Affairs is being sought to assist in the identification of potential Indigenous management responsibilities for land occupied by threatened species, or groups with a cultural connection to land that is important for the species' conservation.
Continued liaison between DEC and the Indigenous community will identify areas in which collaboration will assist implementation of recovery actions.
Social and economic impact:
Some populations of Darwinia apiculata occur on private land and negotiations will continue with regard to the future management of these populations. The implementation of this recovery plan has the potential to have some limited social and economic impact, where populations are located on private property. Recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to these areas.
Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include the Shire of Kalamunda, Conservation Commission, Water Authority, Rinker Australia Pty Ltd (formerly CSR Readymix), Shire of Mundaring, DEC, City of Gosnells, WA Planning Commission (WAPC) and the owners of two private property locations. Western Power is responsible for a transmission line that runs through the vicinity of Population 1c.
Evaluation of the plan’s performance:
DEC will evaluate the performance of this recovery plan in conjunction with the Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT). In addition to annual reporting on progress with listed actions and comparison against the criteria for success and failure, the plan is to be reviewed within five years of its implementation.
Completed Recovery Actions:
- All relevant land managers have been notified of the presence and threatened status of Darwinia apiculata.
- Declared Rare Flora markers have been installed at Populations 1 and 2, and are being installed at Population 3.
- Specimens have been collected and each population is now represented at the Western Australian Herbarium.
- Cuttings have been collected by BPGA and several plants are currently in cultivation, however more are required.
- Opportunistic surveys conducted in areas of similar habitat close to the known populations have failed to locate any other plants. DEC volunteers continue to look for more plants and reports will be made immediately following any new discoveries.
Ongoing and future recovery actions
- DEC is liaising with the relevant Government agencies about the acquisition of the unvested Reserve 22897 for vesting with the CC for the purpose of Conservation of Flora and Fauna.
- DEC is liaising with the Kalamunda Shire about the acquisition of Reserve 24657, which will combine the two largest sub-populations of Population 1 into a DEC managed reserve.
- Staff from DEC’s Perth Hills District regularly monitor all populations of this species.
- The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team is overseeing the implementation of this recovery plan and will include information on progress in its annual report to DEC's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
Recovery plan objective:
The objective of this recovery plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance viable in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.
Criteria for success:
The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Liaise with relevant land managers
- Install Declared Rare Flora markers
- Monitor populations
- Collect seed and cutting material
- Develop and implement a fire management strategy
- Map and manage dieback disease
- Pursue acquisition/transfer of Reserves 24657 & 22897
- Implement weed control
- Conduct further surveys
- Reduce impact of recreational activities
- Develop community involvement
- Map habitat critical to survival
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Review the plan and need for further recovery actions