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Species profile—Arthraxon hispidus


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → Poaceae (grass) → Arthraxon hispidus

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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Poaceae (grass)
Scientific name
Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.) Makino
WildNet taxon ID
Alternate name(s)
hairy-joint grass
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Arthraxon hispidus is a slender, tufted, creeping perennial grass that roots at the nodes, with erect to semi-erect stems. The leaves enclose the stem for 1 to 3 cm in a hairy sheath. The ligules are short, membranous, torn or slightly hairy. The leaf blades are ciliate towards the base, 2 to 6 cm wide and 0.7 to 1.5 cm long. The inflorescences occur in a subdigitate arrangement of 2 to 5 spike-like racemes, which are usually 2 to 4 cm long and greenish to purple in colour. The spikelets are solitary and sessile, 4 to 5 mm long with two florets. The lower floret is reduced to a lemma and the upper is bisexual. The lower glume is purplish, as long as the spikelet, with approximately 9-nerves which are scabrous and covered with rows of fine antrorse tubercles. The upper glume is green, strongly compressed with a scabrous keel. The upper lemma is 65% the length of the glumes, with an awn 9 mm long, geniculate and twisted. The fruit is a caryopsis. The seed-heads are held above the plant on a long fine stalk (Harden, 1983; Leigh et al., 1984; DECC NSW, 2005).
In Australia Arthraxon hispidus may be confused with Oplismenus aemulus. However, A. hispidus has digitate to subdigitate inflorescences whereas O. aemulus has racemose inflorescences (Queensland CRA/RFA, 1998).
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In Australia, the species has been recorded from scattered locations throughout Queensland and on the northern tablelands and north coast of NSW (DECC NSW 2005; Queensland Herbarium, 2011). This species occurs as far south as Kempsey, and west to Glen Innes, in NSW. In Queensland it occurs north to Port Douglas, and west to disjunct occurrences around springs in Carnarvon National Park (NP); however, most occurrences are from Noosa southwards (Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, 1998; DECC, 2005; Bostock and Holland, 2010; Queensland Herbarium, 2011). A. hispidus is known to be reserved in Carnarvon Cooloola NP, Noosa NP (Leigh et al. 1996), Carnarvon NP (Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, 1998), and Daintree NP (Queensland Herbarium, 2011). It extends to New Guinea, India and Japan.
Distributional limits
-24.8417725, 147.1902996
-28.3067376, 153.5010596
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
In NSW and Queensland, A. hispidus is found in or on the edges of rainforest and in wet eucalypt forest, often near creeks or swamps (Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, 1998; DECC NSW, 2005), as well as woodland (Queensland Herbarium, 2011). In the South-East Queensland Bioregion, A. hispidus has also been recorded growing around freshwater springs on coastal foreshore dunes, in shaded small gullies, on creek banks, and on sandy alluvium in creek beds in open forests (Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, 1998), and also with bog mosses in mound springs (Queensland Herbarium, 2011).
There is limited information on the biology and ecology of the species apart from some experimental work undertaken by Benwell (2004) at Koala Beach Estate. Here it was found that A. hispidus was generally restricted to points of previous establishment, thus it was assumed that the species was poorly dispersed or lacked appropriate seed dispersers. Germination was only observed in locations of seeding plants, thus seed longevity was thought to be short (one season). However, at other sites longevity has been found to be longer (several years) (Benwell, 2004). Germination of A. hispidus was enhanced through slashing and raking away mulch, and substantially decreased where mulch was 3 cm thick, thus suggesting that germination may be disturbance dependent. Once established A. hispidus seedlings demonstrated an ability to compete and survive with large numbers of introduced grass species and various herbaceous plants that arise after disturbance.
There was evidence that seedlings can be successfully transplanted, after first being raised in glasshouse conditions (Benwell, 2004). Follow up monitoring revealed an increase in A. hispidus population numbers, thought to be directly related to previous transplanting (Fountain, 2008).
Arthraxon hispidus has been collected fertile from March to May and July (Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, 1998). Harden (1993) reports that this species flowers during summer-autumn. A. hispidus was once considered an annual, but is now thought to be a perennial that tends to die down in winter (DECC NSW, 2005; Queensland Herbarium, 2011).
Threatening processes
The main identified threats to A. hispidus are trampling by stock (Queensland Herbarium, 2011); clearing for agriculture (Leigh et al., 1984) and development (Fensham, 1998; Cardno, 2008); inappropriate fire regimes; over-grazing by domestic stock; competition from introduced grasses, such as Paspalum (Paspalum dilatatum) and Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum); slashing or mowing of habitat (DECC NSW, 2005), and modified hydrology (ANRA, 2009).
The main potential threat to A. hispidus is weed invasion. In particular, Mist Flower (Ageratina riparia), Crofton Weed (Ageratina adenophora) and Lantana (Lantana camara) (Biosecurity Queensland, 2010) may pose a threat along creeks in forested habitats. A number of naturalised exotic species have been observed near the collection site in Alexandra Bay, Noosa (Batianoff and Franks, 1998).
Status notes
Arthraxon hispidus is listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) (EPBC Act), Vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995) and Vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Management documents
Carnarvon National Park Management Plan: Southern Brigalow Belt Biogeographic Region (QPWS 2005); Noosa National Park Management Plan (QPWS 1999); Threatened species hazard reduction list (NSW RFS 2004); Private native forestry code of practice for northern NSW (DECC NSW, 2007); Pacific Pines Estate, Hairy Joint Grass Management Strategy (Cardno, 2008); Population Management Plan for the Threatened Grass Arthraxon hispidus at Koala Beach Estate, Tweed Shire (Benwell 2004).
Management recommendations
Management actions have been identified as local and regional priority actions and include preventing habitat loss, minimising disturbance and modification; raising awareness of the species within the community; enable recovery of additional sites and/or populations; identify and control invasive weeds; implement appropriate grazing and fire regimes (DSEWPC, 2008).
Occurs in the following Queensland pastoral districts: Cook, Darling Downs, Leichhardt, Moreton, Wide Bay (Bostock and Holland, 2010). Also occurs in the following regions: New Guinea, Malesia, Asia, Pacific Islands.
The distribution of this species overlaps with the following EPBC Act-listed threatened ecological communities: Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregion; the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin; Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant), and White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (DSEWPC, 2008).
This species occurs within the Border River Gwydir, Northern Rivers (NSW), Fitzroy, Border Rivers Maranoa Balonne, Condamine, South East, Burnett Mary and Wet Tropics (Queensland) Natural Resource Management Regions.
Australian Natural Resources Atlas (ANRA) (2009). Biodiversity Assessment - Brigalow Belt South, Species at risk and the Threatening Process. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Accessed 11/10/2011.
Batianoff, G.N. and Franks, A.J. (1998). Environmental weed invasions on the South East Queensland Foredunes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 104: 15-34.
Benwell, A. (2004). Population Management Plan for the Threatened Grass Arthraxon hispidus at Koala Beach Estate, Tweed Shire. Accessed 11/10/2011.
Biosecurity Queensland on behalf of the National Lantana Management Group (2010). Plan to Protect Environmental Assets from Lantana. Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Yeerongpilly, Queensland.
Bostock, P.D. and Holland, A.E. (eds) (2010). Census of the Queensland Flora 2010. Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Briggs, J.D. and Leigh, J.H. (1996). Rare or Threatened Australian Plants, 1995 revised edition, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
Cardno (2008). Pacific Pines Estate, Hairy Joint Grass Management Strategy. Accessed 11/10/2011.
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) (2008). Arthraxon hispidus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Accessed 1/09/2011.
Fensham, R.J. (1998). Mound springs in the Dawson River Valley, Queensland: Vegetation-environment relations and consequences of a proposed impoundment on botanical values. Pacific Conservation Biology 4, 42-54.
Fountain, T. (2008). Koala Beach 2008 Summer Arthraxon Monitoring Report. Accessed 11/10/2011. http:/
Harden, G.J. (Ed) (1993). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Four, University of NSW Press, Kensington.
Leigh, J. Boden, R. and Briggs, J. (1984). Extinct and Endangered Plants of Australia, Macmillan, Melbourne.
NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) (2005). Hairy Jointgrass profile. Accessed 11/09/2011.
NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) (2007). Private native forestry code of practice northern NSW, Sydney South.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) (2004). Threatened species hazard reduction list: Part-Plants Accessed 7/10/2011.
Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee (QCRA/FRA) (1998). Survey of Threatened Plant Species in South East Queensland Biogeographical Region. Queensland Government and Commonwealth of Australia. [Online].
Queensland Herbarium (2011). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 02/09/2011.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) (1999). Management Plan Noosa National Park. Accessed 7/10/2011.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) (2005). Carnarvon National Park Management Plan: Southern Brigalow Belt Biogeographic Region Management Plan. Accessed 7/10/2011.
Queensland Wetlands Program (QMP) (2005). Wetland Management Profile, Great Artesian Basin Spring Wetlands. Ecosystem Conservation Branch. Accessed 11/10/2011.
Profile author
Lynise Wearne (07/12/2011)

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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