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Species profile—Rhaponticum australe (Asteraceae)

Classification

Plantae (plants) → Rosopsida (higher dicots) → Asteraceae (sunflower) → Rhaponticum australe

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Species details

Kingdom
Plantae (plants)
Class
Rosopsida (higher dicots)
Family
Asteraceae (sunflower)
Species
Rhaponticum australe
Alternate name
austral cornflower
native thistle
Taxonomy Author
(Gaudich.) Sojak
Nature Conservation Act (NCA) status
Vulnerable
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) status
Vulnerable
Back on Track (BoT) status
High
Endemicity
Native
Description
Rhaponticum australe is an erect, herbaceous perennial growing to 60 cm high. The stems are covered with woolly hairs. The leaves are toothed to deeply pinnatifid (cut about half the width of the leaf blade into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib), the lower leaves are 18 cm long by 6 cm wide, reducing in size up the stem, with the upper leaves few, smaller and nearly stalkless (sessile). The flowers are clustered into terminal heads, 36 cm in diameter, the outer and intermediate bracts are ovate and rough to touch, with a terminal appendage 4 to 8 mm in diameter, the innermost bracts are as long as the florets, and the corolla (petals) is 25 to 50 mm long and purple in colour. The cypselas (fruits) are 7 to 8 mm long, and striate with slender white hairs (pappus), 20 to 25 mm long (Murray, 1992).
Rhaponticum australe is often mistaken for one of the introduced thistles.
Distribution
Rhaponticum australe is known from Mt Moffatt, Monto to Biloela, the eastern Darling Downs to Gatton in Queensland. This species was previously known from NSW and Victoria but is now presumed extinct in these two States (Murray, 1992; Jeanes, 1999). The total population size and extent of occurrence of this species are unknown. One population has 1000 individual plants, but most population are considerably smaller. R. australe occurs within Carnarvon National Park and Long Grass Nature Refuge (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Habitat
Rhaponticum australe grows in eucalypt open forest with a grassy understory and in grasslands on black clay soil. It is often found on roadsides and on road or rail reserves associated with Chloris gayana, Cirsium vulgare, Eucalyptus tereticornis and Angophora floribunda (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Reproduction
Flowering of Rhaponticum australe occurs in February, October, November and December. Seeding has been recorded in November (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Threatening processes
The main potential threats to Rhaponticum australe include broad-scale vegetation clearing, invasion by weeds, grazing pressure, roadworks and inappropriate fire regimes (DERM, 2010a, b, c, d, e; DSEWPC, 2012). Additional threats from the south west NRM region include impact of feral horses (DERM, 2010e).
Management recommendations
Recommended management strategies and actions are described in DSEWPC (2012) and DERM (2010a, b, c, d, e).
References
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) (2012). Rhaponticum australe in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra.
Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Asteraceae, In: Walsh, N.G. and Entwisle, T.J. (Eds), Flora of Victoria, vol. 4, Inkata Press, Sydney.
Murray, L. (1992). Stemmacantha, In: Harden G.J. (Ed.), Flora of New South Wales, vol. 3, New South Wales University Press, Kensington.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010a). Burnett Mary Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010b). Condamine Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010c). Fitzroy Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010d). South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010e). South West Natural Resource Management Region Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Queensland Herbarium (2012). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 20/03/2012.
Author
R.Booth (2012-05-25 00:00:00)
Other resources
Atlas of Living Australia

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Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 October 2014
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