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Species profile—Eriocaulon carsonii


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → EriocaulaceaeEriocaulon carsonii

Photo of Eriocaulon carsonii () - Fensham, R.,Queensland Herbarium, DES (Licence: CC BY NC)
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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Eriocaulon carsonii F.Muell.
WildNet taxon ID
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Conservation significant
Wetland status
Wetland Indicator Species
Pest status
Eriocaulon carsonii is a perennial mat-forming herb growing 5 to 12 cm high. The leaves are broadly lanceolate, 10 to 75 mm long, 2 to 11 mm wide at the base, acuminate, with 4 to 8 nerves, fenestrate and glabrous (or pubescent with fine tangled hairs in the leaf axis). The apex is obtuse or acute with blunt secretory tip. The apex is obtuse with blunt secretory tip. Peduncles are 11 to 23 mm long, with 4 to 6 untwisted, glabrous ribs. The sheath is 2 to 20 mm long, glabrous, white translucent (often with an inflated apex), unfused or up to 95% fused. The sheath tip is green or brown, often scarious, acute or obtuse to bifid. The flowers heads are hemispherical, 3 to 5 mm long, 1.5 to 6 mm wide, mostly hermaphroditic (rarely unisexual), containing one ring of 5 to 36 female flowers at the periphery and 6 to 67 male flowers at the centre, appearing white owing to the presence of long hairs. The involucral bracts are green to light brown, broadly ovate to obovate, 0.9-2.6 mm long, 0.6-2.0 mm wide, obtuse or subacute, fertile or sterile, not reflexed at maturity. The male flowers are 1.2 to 2.2 mm long, dimorphic with smaller flowers with larger anthers towards the centre. The female flowers are 1.4 to 2.2 mm long. The ovary is 3-locular and sessile. The seeds are ellipsoid, 0.6 to 0.8 mm long and 0.4 to 0.6 mm wide, smooth, shiny, glabrous and unsculptured (Davies et al. 2007).
On the basis of morphological and molecular analysis, five taxa are recognised within E. carsonii (Davies et al. 2007).
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Eriocaulon carsonii currently inhabits nine spring complexes in South Australia, 12 in Queensland and one in New South Wales. The Great Artesian Basin sustains the wetlands with E. carsonii populations with the exception of two populations in the Einasleigh Uplands region of north Queensland. Great Artesian Basin spring wetlands have been well surveyed in recent time. There is a high level of certainty that no further complexes containing the E. carsonii will be found. (Fensham, 2007).
Distributional limits
-16.3618099, 140.4634197
-27.9520684, 150.2500144
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
Eriocaulon carsonii is confined to the vents and tails of mound-spring wetlands. It is endemic to mound springs near the western, south-western, southern and eastern margins of the GAB in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland (Davies et al. 2007; Fensham, 2007)
Eleocharis carsonii produces abundant tiny seeds that germinate readily. It is capable of colonising suitable habitat within complexes where it is known to occur and also to disperse over considerable distances. However, the species has not been recorded on the artificial wetland habitats created around flowing bores. E. carsonii is also capable of vegetative spread and will form substantial mats (Fensham, 2007).
Threatening processes
Threatening processes to Eriocaulon carsonii include: 1) Aquifer draw-down; 2) Excavation of springs; 3) Planting of ponded pastures; 4) Infestation by rubbervine; 5) Stock, goat, donkey and horse disturbance of springs; 6) Disturbance of springs by pigs (Fensham, 2007).
Status notes
This species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Endangered under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992, the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.
Management recommendations
Management recommendations for Eriocaulon carsonii are described in Fensham (2007). A summary of these include: 1) the establishment of tenure-based security over populations of the E. carsonii; 2) ensure that spring excavation and related direct threatening processes are regulated activities; 3) control flow from all bores that will enhance groundwater flows to springs containing E. carsonii populations; 4) develop and implement techniques to increase landholder participation in GABSI; 5) control new groundwater allocations; 6) monitor groundwater flows to springs; 7) eradicate para grass from North Spring and hymenachne from Moses Spring; 8) eradicate rubbervine Cryptostegia grandiflora from Lagoon Spring; 9) manage stock; 10) control pigs; 11) establish and maintain pig fencing; 12) monitor E. carsonii habitat and populations to better understand threats; 13) study the ecology of E. carsonii.
Occurs in the following Queensland pastoral districts: Gregory North, Mitchell, Cook, Leichhardt, North Kennedy, South Kennedy and Warrego.
Davies, R.J.-P., Craigie, A.I., Mackay, D.A., Whalen, M.A., Cheong, J.P.-E. and Leach, G.J. (2007). Resolution of the taxonomy of Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae) taxa endemic to Australian mound springs, using morphometrics and AFLP markers. Australian Systematic Botany 20 (5): 428-447.
Fensham R. (2007). Recovery plan for salt pipewort Eriocaulon carsonii. Report to Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Canberra. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.
Queensland Herbarium (2012). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 16/01/2012.
Profile author
Ronald Booth (08/03/2012)

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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
20 May 2024