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Species profile—Marsdenia brevifolia


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → ApocynaceaeMarsdenia brevifolia

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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Marsdenia brevifolia (Benth.) P.I.Forst.
WildNet taxon ID
Superseded by
Leichhardtia brevifolia (04/06/2021)
Back on Track (BoT) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Marsdenia brevifolia is an erect woody shrub growing to 1m high, sometimes weakly twining, with white latex. The roots are fibrous. The indumentum is colourless. The stems cylindrical, to 2 mm diameter, with dense trichomes; internodes to 4 cm long. The leaves have a petiole 1 to 4 mm long. The lamina is elliptic to ovate, up to 4 cm long and 2 cm wide, discolorous, with obscure venation. The upper lamina surface is dark green, with sparse trichomes, and the lower surface is pale yellow-green, with sparse to dense trichomes. The lamina tip is acute to shortly acuminate. The leaf base is rounded to cuneate.
The inflorescences are umbelliform. The flowers are 2 to 2.5 mm long by 1.8 to 3, 5 mm in diameter, with pedicels which are 1.5 to 2.2 mm long. The corolla is urceolate, cream-green to yellow in colour. The corolla tube is 1.2 to 2 mm long by 1.5 to 2.5 mm in diameter, and the lobes are ovate to triangular, 0.8 to 1.5 mm long, internally glabrous or with sparse trichomes. The corolline corona is absent. The staminal corona is absent. The anther appendages are lanceolate-ovate to truncate. The style head is conical-elongate. The pollinia is oblong, 0.17 to 0.22 mm long. The follicles are fusiform, 3.4 to 4.5 cm long (Forster, 1995; Forster, 1996).
In general habit, Marsdenia brevifolia is similar to M. graniticola from Western Australia. Among the shrubby species of Marsdenia, M. brevifolia is distinctive in lacking both staminal and corolline coronas in its flowers (Forster, 1995).
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Marsdenia brevifolia is endemic to Queensland, and has an apparent disjunct distribution in northern and central Queensland with collections having been made near Townsville, Springsure and north of Rockhampton. The species occurs in Alectura Nature Refuge, Mount Zero-Taravale Nature Refuge and Cairdbeign State Forest (Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Distributional limits
-18.973456, 145.9378888
-24.2173182, 150.7634893
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
Marsdenia brevifolia has an apparent disjunct distribution in northern and central Queensland with collections having been made near Townsville, Springsure and north of Rockhampton. Around Springsure M. brevifolia has been collected from woodland dominated by Corymbia erythrophloia and Eucalyptus crebra, with dense Themeda triandra understorey on basalt. Plants occurring north of Rockhampton grow on serpentine rock outcrops or on black crumbly soils derived from serpentine in woodland dominated by Corymbia xanthope and Eucalyptus fibrosa. Despite this close association with serpentine, the species is not a serpentine endemic or a nickel hyperaccumulator. At Hidden Valley west of Paluma, plants grow in woodland on granite soils dominated by Eucalyptus granitica, Corymbia leichhardtii and E. acmenoides. On Magnetic Island the species occurs in open forest on dark massive acid agglomerate soils dominated by E. drepanophylla (Forster, 1995; Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Flowering of Marsdenia brevifolia occurs from October to February and fruiting from January to March (Forster, 1995; Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Threatening processes
Threatening processes to Marsdenia brevifolia include: inappropriate fire regimes (high intensity fire kills individuals), feral pigs (rooting by pigs destroys habitat), inappropriate grazing regime, flow regime (closure of bore drains can destroy habitat) and drainage of habitat (plants grow in artesian springs and threatened by the drainage of this habitat) (DERM, 2010a). Other threats include mining (clearing for nickel in areas of serpentine soils) and too frequent fires (DERM, 2010b; DSEWPC, 2012).
Status notes
Marsdenia brevifolia is listed as Vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Management recommendations
Regional and local priority actions to support the recovery of Marsdenia brevifolia are outlined by DSEWPC (2012). A summary of these include actions to: limit habitat loss, disturbance and modification (e.g. monitor known populations to identify key threats, monitor the progress of recovery; identify populations of high conservation priority); increase conservation information (raise awareness of M. brevifolia in the local community); minimise trampling, browsing or grazing (develop and implement a stock management plan for roadside verges and travelling stock routes); manage fire appropriately (develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for M. brevifolia); and enabling recovery of additional sites and/or populations (e.g. undertake appropriate seed collection and storage, and investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations) (DSEWPC; 2012).
Further management recommendations can be found in DERM (2010a) and DERM (2010b).
Occurs in the following Queensland pastoral districts: Leichhardt, North Kennedy, Port Curtis.
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) (2012). Marsdenia brevifolia in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra.
Forster, P.I. (1995). Circumscription of Marsdenia (Asclepiadaceae: Marsdenieae), with a revision of the genus in Australia and Papuasia. Australian Systematic Botany 8 (5): 795.
Forster, P.I. in Orchard, A.E. (Ed) (1996). Flora of Australia 28: 249-250.
Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2010a). Burdekin 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). Fitzroy 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 14/03/2012.
Profile author
Lynise Wearne (15/05/2012)

Other resources

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

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

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Last updated
7 September 2021
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