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two new Threatened plant species for the Range

two new Threatened plant species for the Range

We now have FOUR Threatened (Declared Rare) Flora

 

on Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin

 

Lepidosperma bungalbin and Acacia shapelleae

 

have been added to the

 

Threatened Flora list for WA

 

 

We all know the two rare (Threatened) flora on Helena and Aurora Range

- Tetratheca aphylla subsp. aphylla  and  Leucopogon spectablis.

 

Now we also have

Lepidosperma bungalbin and Acacia shapelleae

as

rare (Threatened) flora on Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin

 

This is good news.  It recognises the vulnerability of all four of these species, their high conservation status indicating that they need protection.

 

Lepidosperma bungalbin is a sword sedge that grows on the top of the range amongst the exposed rocks on the surface (Banded Ironstone Formation, BIF rock). It's leaves are flat and light green,  and can be shiny on the surface reflecting the light from the sun or a glowing yellow-green when the sun shines through the leaves.  Photo: Shapelle McNee

 

          

Acaia shapelleae,  is a tall acacia shrub from 2 - 4 m high with yellow globular (round) flower heads and shiny, sticky, terete leaves.  Photo: Geoff Cockerton

 

The four plant species now listed as Threatened (T) on the Range, under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, are four of the five endemic flora known on Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin. These four that are listed as Threatened only occur on the main range (no where else in Australia or the world). 

We don't know of any other Banded Irostone Formation (BIF) range with four species listed as Threatened.

 

Note: The fifth endemic plant species on the Range is Acacia adinophylla, which occurs both on the main range and the small hills that head out to the north west (J5 to J4) and some lower BIF ridge sites nearby.

First collection of Tetratheca aphylla

First collection of Tetratheca aphylla

 

Tetratheca aphylla subsp. aphylla

first collected in 1861 by Charles Harper

Mueller described this species in 1882 (Tetratheca aphylla F Muell.) from a plant specimen in James Drummond's collection.  Yet James Drummond never visited Helena and Aurora Range. This has been a mystery to botanists and taxonomists.

A publication in the journal Nuytsia (in March 2013) has shed light on this mystery following the research of Lesley Brooker including early explorer's diaries (books published in 2006, Expedition eastwards from Northam by the Dempster brothers, Harper and Correll, July - -August 1861 and in 2012 Explorers routes revisited. Clarkson expedition 1864).

 

The publication in Nuytsia is a Short Communication titled:

"'There are greater things in life than cricket': Tetratheca aphylla (Elaeocarpaceae), James Drummond and the exploration of the Helena and Aurora Range"

Authors: Neil Gibson and Ryonen Butcher

 

[The quote "There are greater things in life than cricket" was from Charles Harper]

 

 

 

The story that has been unfolded is that Charles Harper collected the first collection (and type) of Tetratheca aphylla on the southern flanks or summit of Bungalbin Hill during his first expedition, on 24th July 1861.  Charles Harper gave this plant specimen (and others) to James Drummond. The Tetratheca aphylla specimen most likely was placed in Drummond's private collection, which would then have been sent to Mueller when Drummond's son sent the private collection to him in 1866.  Mueller said in a letter to Bentham in February 1866 stating "Within the last week I have received Drummonds plants from Swan River; the collection is in a very miserable state ..." (this letter was published in 2002 in the book Regardfully yours: selected correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller)

 

Tetratheca aphylla was not collected again until 1979, where it was collected from the Helena and Aurora Range by Ken Newbey.  Two subspecies of Tetratheca aphylla were later recognised and described following a plant collection made three years later (in 1982) from the Newdegate area (some 300 km south of Helena and Aurora Range) by A Strid.

Tetratheca aphylla subsp. aphylla occurs on Helena and Aurora Range

Tetratheca aphylla subsp. megacarpa occurs near Newdegate

 

There is lots more information in this Nuytsia Short Communication (can be downloaded from the internet).  The full details of this article is given below (followed by the details of the books mentioned in the text above).

 

Gibson N and Butcher R (2013) 'There are greater things in life than cricket' Tetratheca aphylla (Elaeocarpaceae), James Drummond and the exploration of Helena and Aurora Range. Short Communication. Nuytsia volume 23, pages 95-99.

 


Brooker L (2006) Expedition eastwards from Northam by the Dempster brothers, Charkson, Harper and Correll, July - August 1861. Hesperian Press, Carlisle, Western Australia.

Brooker L (2012) Explorers routes revisited. Clarkson expedition 1864. Hesperian Press, Carlisle, Western Australia.

Holmes RW, Lucas AM, Maroske S, Sinkora DM and Voight JH (eds) (2002) Regardfully yours: selected correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller. Volume II 1860-1875. Peter Lang, Bern.