Nature conservation

Threatened species

A spear-grass - 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: Austrostipa wakoolica
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 29 Jun 2022


A densely-tufted, perennial spear-grass that grows to 1 m tall. The leaves are flattened or rolled, 1.5 - 2.5 mm wide at their bases, slightly to strongly ribbed, and densely hairy. The flower-heads are spreading and moderately dense, to 36 cm long, comprising gaping spikelets 11 - 15 mm long (excluding the awn). The awn (bristle) is twice-bent and 3.5 - 6 cm long.


Confined to the floodplains of the Murray River tributaries of central-western and south-western NSW, with localities including Manna State Forest, Matong, Lake Tooim, Merran Creek, Tulla, Cunninyeuk and Mairjimmy State Forest (now part of South West Woodland Nature Reserve).

Habitat and ecology

  • Grows on floodplains of the Murray River tributaries, in open woodland on grey, silty clay or sandy loam soils; habitats include the edges of a lignum swamp with box and mallee; creek banks in grey, silty clay; mallee and lignum sandy-loam flat; open Cypress Pine forest on low sandy range; and a low, rocky rise.
  • Associated species include Callitris glaucophylla, Eucalyptus microcarpa, E. populnea, Austrostipa eremophila, A. drummondii, Austrodanthonia eriantha and Einadia nutans.
  • Flowers from October to December, mainly in response to rain.
  • Seed dispersal is mainly by wind, rain and flood events; the awn and sharp point of the floret appear to be an adaptation for burying the seed into the soil; grass seed is traditionally believed to be viable for three to five years, so a long-lived seed bank is considered unlikely for this species.
  • Recorded as common in the Mairjimmy State Forest population.

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
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Predicted West of Cowra
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known South of the Murrumbidgee River