Nature conservation

Threatened species

Spiked Rice-flower - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Pimelea spicata
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 12 Aug 2019


The Spiked Rice-flower is a shrub to 50 cm tall that may be erect or somewhat spreading in habit. The leaves are opposite and elliptical, to 20 mm long by 8 mm wide, and usually held outwards from the stem. The white, pink-tinged flowers are tubular, to 10 mm long, with four spreading petals. They may appear at any time of the year, but are mostly seen in summer as they are probably related to rainfall. Inflorescences start as dense clusters (like most rice flowers) and then extend along an elongating stem as the inflorescences age (the only species of Pimelea in Greater Sydney to do this).


Once widespread on the Cumberland Plain, the Spiked Rice-flower occurs in two disjunct areas; the Cumberland Plain (Marayong and Prospect Reservoir south to Narellan and Douglas Park) and the Illawarra (Landsdowne to Shellharbour to northern Kiama).

Habitat and ecology

  • In both the Cumberland Plain and Illawarra environments this species is found on well-structured clay soils.
  • On the Cumberland Plain sites it is associated with Grey Box communities (particularly Cumberland Plain Woodland variants and Moist Shale Woodland) and in areas of ironbark.
  • The co-occurring species in the Cumberland Plain sites are grey box (Eucalyptus moluccana), forest red gum (E. tereticornis) and narrow-leaved ironbark (E. crebra). Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa) is often present at sites (and may be important in protection from grazing) and kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) is usually present in the groundcover (also indicative of a less intense grazing history).
  • In the coastal Illawarra it occurs commonly in Coast Banksia open woodland with a better developed shrub and grass understorey. Coastal headlands and hilltops are the favoured sites.
  • the IIllawarra populations usually occur in one of two communities - a woodland or a coastal grassland. Woodland sites are dominated by forest red gum (E. tereticornis) and stringybark (E. eugenioides), with a groundcover dominated by kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) and matrush (Lomandra longifolia). The grassland sites are dominated by kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) and matrush (Lomandra longifolia), with blady grass (Imperata cylindrica). A shrubby layer, where present, is dominated by coastal wattle (Acacia sophorae) and coast rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) with coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia).
  • Mature plants spread over short distances through underground rhizomes, and this can assist them to recover from disturbances like fire and irregular grazing. However, the age plants must be, and what proportion recover, is largely unknown.
  • Flowers may be self-pollinating, although fruit production is variable. Fruit are not dispersed well, with most seedlings germinating close to the adult (within 30cm or so according to P. Hogbin). A soil seedbank develops and is maintained in the presence of a suitable disturbance regime.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known Within 5 km of coast