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Species profile—Dichanthium queenslandicum

Classification

Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → Poaceae (grass) → Dichanthium queenslandicum

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Species details

Kingdom
Plantae (plants)
Class
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Family
Poaceae (grass)
Scientific name
Dichanthium queenslandicum B.K.Simon
WildNet taxon ID
11064
Alternate name(s)
king blue-grass
king blue grass
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Vulnerable
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) status
Endangered
Back on Track (BoT) status
Low
Conservation significant
Yes
Confidential
No
Endemicity
Native
Pest status
Nil
Short Notes
BRI 228113, status annotated by author
Description
Dichanthium queenslandicum is a perennial, tufted, erect grass to 80 cm tall. The culms are rarely branched and the nodes are bearded. The leaf sheaths have long spreading tubercular-based hairs. The ligules are up to about 1.5 mm long. The leaf blades are linear, apex attenuated, up to approximately 18 cm x 0.25 to 0.5 cm, with long spreading tubercular-based hairs. The raceme is solitary or rarely in pairs, up to approximately 10 cm long; the rachis and pedicels have long spreading hairs and are sessile; the spikelets are 7.5 to 8.5 mm long. The lower glume is as long as the spikelet and the surface is glabrous but scabrid on the margins, the upper glume is as long as the spikelet and is glabrous. The lower floret with lemma about 5 mm long, hyaline, upper floret with lemma and awn together 2 to 2.5 cm long; pedicellate spikelet about 6 mm long (Stanley, 1989; Sharp and Simon, 2002).
Dichanthium queenslandicum can be distinguished from other Dichanthium species in Australia by the following combination of features: flowering racemes more than 6 cm long, usually single, or if 2 or more then sessile; glumes glabrous or sparsely hairy; lower glume of sessile spikelet without a ciliate sub-apical arch; sessile spikelets 6 to 8 mm long (Sharp and Simon, 2002).
Map
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Distribution
Digitaria queenslandicum occurs from near Dalby north to about 90 km north of Hughenden and west as far as Clermont. The main concentration of populations in central Queensland in the Emerald region. It is found in Gemini Peaks NP north east of Clermont and Alpinia NP near Rolleston. (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Distributional limits
-19.492, 144.3769748
-27.702, 151.74728
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
Habitat
Dichanthium queenslandicum occurs on black cracking clay in tussock grasslands mainly in association with other species of blue grasses (Dichanthium spp. and Bothriochloa spp.) but also with other grasses restricted to this soil type (Fletcher 2001, Simon 1982). Dichanthium queenslandicum in mostly confined to natural grassland on the heavy black clay soils (basalt downs, basalt cracking clay, open downs) on undulating plains. Other species recorded in the grasslands include Aristida leptopoda, Bothriochloa erianthoides, Moorochloa eruciformis, Corchorus trilocularis, Cyperus bifax, Dichanthium sericeum, Digitaria brownii, Digitaria divaricatissima, Eulalia fulva, Ipomoea lonchophylla, Iseilema vaginiflorum, Panicum decompositum, Panicum queenslandicum, Paspalidium globoideum, Parthenium hysterophorus and Thellungia advena. Other communities where Dichanthium queenslandicum can be found include Acacia salicina thickets in grassland and eucalypt woodlands (i.e. Corymbia dallachiana, C. erythrophloia, E. orgadophila) (Fensham 1999, Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Reproduction
Flowers have been recorded throughout the year, particularly from March (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Threatening processes
The threats to Dichanthium queenslandicum are generally the same as those of the Bluegrass (Dichanthium spp.) dominant grassland of central Queensland in which the species was almost certainly a co-dominant in its initial state (Fensham et al. 1999). These include: loss of habitat through agricultural and mining pursuits, road construction and other infrastructure developments, unstainable grazing levels and weed invasion.
The main habitat for Dichanthium queenslandicum is the bluegrass grassland of central Queensland of which approximately 70 percent has been replaced. Cultivation and crop production remains an ongoing and immediate threat to the extent of bluegrass grasslands as well as expansion of mining activities (Butler, 2007). Grazing is an issue as Dichanthium queenslandicum is known to be of good fodder value, however it cannot tolerate continual heavy stocking regimes. It is observed that D. queenslandicum was more common in lightly grazed pastures than heavily grazed pastures (Fensham et al., 1999). The degradation of remnant bluegrass grasslands by poor grazing management, and associated increases in unpalatable species and weed invasion, increases the economic attractiveness of converting natural pastureland to cultivation (Butler, 2007). Weed invasion, including Parthenium, Buffel Grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) and Zinnia (Zinnia peruviana) threatens the value of bluegrass grasslands as habitat for Dichanthium queenslandicum (Butler, 2007).
Status notes
Dichanthium queenslandicum is listed as Vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act, 1992.
Dichanthium queenslandicum is listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
Management recommendations
The recovery of Dichanthium queenslandicum is linked to the recovery of the bluegrass (Dichanthium spp.) dominant grassland of central Queensland where the species was once a dominant component of the vegetation. The Draft Recovery plan for the Bluegrass (Dichanthium spp.) (Butler, 2007) recommends management actions that are applicable to D. queenslandicum. These suggested management actions include: 1) promote landholder awareness of sustainable management practices, especially rest from grazing, and their importance to the preservation of bluegrass grasslands' environmental and pastoral values. 2) Encourage landholders to enter into conservation agreements over bluegrass grasslands. 3) Increase the area of bluegrass grassland in the conservation estate. 4) Help graziers to reduce overall grazing pressure on bluegrass grasslands and to spell grasslands during the summer growing season. 5) Help graziers to fence bluegrass grasslands out from other land types and to subdivide bluegrass grasslands to facilitate sound grazing management, including rest from grazing during critical periods in the summer growing season. 6) Research and develop and monitoring
Notes
Occurs in the following Queensland pastoral districts: Darling Downs, Leichhardt, Port Curtis.
References
Butler, D.W. (2007). Draft Recovery plan for the Bluegrass (Dichanthium spp.) dominant grassland of the Brigalow Belt Bioregions (north and south) endangered ecological community, 2007-2011. Report to Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.
Fensham, R.J. (1998). The grassy vegetation of the Darling Downs, south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Floristics and grazing effects. Biological Conservation 84: 301-310.
Fensham, R.J. (1999). Native grasslands of the Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia. Floristics, regional context and conservation. Rangeland Journal 21: 82-103.
Fensham, R.J., Holman, J.E. and Cox, M.J. (1999). Plant species responses along a grazing disturbance gradient in Australian grassland. Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 77-86.
Queensland Herbarium (2011). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 27/02/2012.
Sharp, D. and Simon, B.K. (2002). AusGrass: Grasses of Australia. CD-ROM, Version 1.0 (Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland).
Stanley, T.D. and Ross, E.M. (1989). Flora of South-eastern Queensland 3: 258.
Profile author
Ronald Booth (24/02/2012)

Other resources

Species Profile and Threats Database (SPRAT)
The Australasian Virtual Herbarium (AVH)
Atlas of Living Australia

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0
https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/species/?op=getspeciesbyid&taxonid=11064

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
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