National recovery plan for the Spike Poison (Gastrolobium glaucum)
Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington
- Scientific Name: Gastrolobium glaucum
- Common Name: Wongan Poison, Spike Poison
- Family: Papilionaceae
- Flowering Period: August - September
- DEC Region: Wheatbelt
- DEC District: Avon Mortlock
- Shire: Wongan-Ballidu
- Recovery Team: Avon Mortlock District Threatened Flora Recovery Team
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. pp 94; Aplin, T. (1969). Poison Plants of Western Australia, the toxic species of the genera Gastrolobium and Oxylobium: Berry Poison, Spike Poison, Hook-Point Poison, Scale-Leaf Poison. Western Australian Department of Agriculture, Bulletin no. 3706. pp 5-6; DEC (2007a) Western Australian Herbarium FloraBase 2 – Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia. Accessed 2007. http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/
Gastrolobium glaucum was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act, 1950 in 1980 and is currently ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) under World Conservation Union (IUCN 1994) Red List criterion C1, due to a continuing decline of 25% or greater over three years. The main threats are weed invasion, inappropriate fire regimes, road maintenance, grazing, maintenance of powerline access track, vehicle traffic, sand extraction and competition from associated species. The species is listed as Endangered (EN) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Gastrolobium glaucum is currently known from four populations in DEC’s Avon Mortlock District. Since the late 1980’s to early 1990’s the number of known plants in wild populations has decreased from 1127 to 386 mature plants. This reduction is believed to be due to senescence and poor recruitment resulting from a lack of suitable disturbance such as fire.
Population 3 and Subpopulation 1b are on road reserves, Populations 2 and 4 are on water reserves, and Subpopulation 1a is located within an Experimental Farm vested with the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Gastrolobium glaucum is a compact shrub up to 60 cm high with many stems arising from a woody rootstock. The bluish-green or almost grey leaves, up to 1.7 cm long and 1.3 cm wide, are arranged in whorls of three and vary from circular to elliptical or oval. They are held erect, and are flat, rather thick and rigid, with a very blunt tip bearing a hard prickly point. The orange and red flowers, well under 1 cm long, are borne above the leaves in closely clustered whorls of three. The sepals and flower stalks are densely hairy (Brown et al. 1998).
Gastrolobium glaucum may be confused with Gastrolobium hamulosum and Gastrolobium rotundifolium although these are easily distinguished as G. hamulosum has smaller leaves with a hooked point which G. glaucum lacks. G. rotundifolium has dark green leaves that contrast with the grey leaves of G. glaucum, G. glaucum also lacks the very long needle-like, pungent point on the leaf that G. rotundifolium has. G. rotundifolium also has much larger stipules than G. glaucum (Brown et al. 1998; Chandler et al. 2002).
Gastrolobium glaucum occurs in soils containing sand, loam, clay and gravel on slightly sloping habitat in mixed low heath dominated by Hakea, Melaleuca and Acacia.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations:
Given that Gastrolobium glaucum is ranked as Endangered (EPBC Act), it is considered that all known habitat for wild populations is critical to species survival, and that all wild populations are important populations. Habitat critical to the survival of G. glaucum includes the area of occupancy of extant populations, areas of similar habitat (i.e. sand, loam, clay and gravel soils in mixed low heath dominated by Hakea, Melaleuca and Acacia) surrounding populations (this is necessary to allow access for pollinators and expansion of populations) and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable for future translocations.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities:
Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Gastrolobium glaucum will also improve the status of remnant associated native vegetation dominated by Hakea, Melaleuca and Acacia. No other conservation listed flora is located in the vicinity of G. glaucum.
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. Gastrolobium glaucum is not listed under any specific international treaty and this IRP does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
The Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register lists no sites of Aboriginal significance at or near populations of the species covered by this IRP. However, the involvement of the Indigenous community is currently being sought to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the plan. If no role is identified for Indigenous communities in the recovery of this species, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species.
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:
The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts. Minor adjustments to management practices may be required to ensure the protection of populations on lands not managed primarily for conservation.
Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu, Department of Agriculture and Food and the Water Corporation.
Evaluation of the plan’s performance: The Department of Environment and Conservation, in conjunction with the Avon Mortlock District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (AMDTFRT) will evaluate the performance of this IRP. In addition to annual reporting on progress and evaluation against the criteria for success and failure, the plan will be reviewed following four years of implementation.
Completed Recovery Actions
- Land managers have been made aware of the threatened nature of this species, its location and their legal obligations to protect it.
- Declared Rare Flora markers have been installed at Population 3 and Subpopulation 1b.
- Fencing of a portion of Population 2 has been undertaken.
- Collections of seed from several populations are stored with the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) and DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).
Ongoing and future recovery actions
- The AMDTFRT is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their annual report to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
- Staff from DEC’s Avon Mortlock District office are monitoring all known populations.
The objective of this IRP 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 populations have increased and/or the number of mature individuals have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of populations have decreased and/or the number of mature individuals have decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Monitor populations
- Collect seed
- Develop and implement fire and disturbance trails
- Develop and implement a fire management strategy
- Promote awareness
- Seek security of tenure for important populations
- Undertake weed control
- Install DRF markers
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Conduct further surveys
- Map habitat critical to the survival of Gastrolobium glaucum
- Review the plan and need for further recovery actions