Nature conservation

Threatened species

White-flowered Wax Plant - 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: Cynanchum elegans
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 26 May 2020


A climber or twiner with a highly variable form. Mature stems have a fissured corky bark and can grow to 10 metres long and 3.5 cm thick. The leaves are paired (or rarely in threes), ovate to broadly ovate in shape, 1.5 to 10.5 cm long, and 1.5 to 7.5 cm wide. The flowers are white, tubular, and up to 4 mm long and 12 mm wide. The fruit is a dry pointed pod to 8 cm long, which contains up to 45 seeds with long silky hairs attached to one end.


Restricted to eastern NSW where it is distributed from Brunswick Heads on the north coast to Gerroa in the Illawarra region. The species has been recorded as far west as Merriwa in the upper Hunter River valley.

Habitat and ecology

  • The White-flowered Wax Plant usually occurs on the edge of dry rainforest vegetation. Other associated vegetation types include littoral rainforest; Coastal Tea-tree Leptospermum laevigatum – Coastal Banksia Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia coastal scrub; Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis aligned open forest and woodland; Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata aligned open forest and woodland; and Bracelet Honeymyrtle Melaleuca armillaris scrub to open scrub.
  • Flowering occurs between August and May, with a peak in November. Flower abundance on individual plants varies from sparse to prolific.
  • The fruit can take up to six months to mature.
  • Seed production is variable and unreliable. Seeds are wind dispersed. It is considered to be unlikely that a soil seed bank for this species exists.
  • Plants are capable of suckering from rootstock in response to occasional slashing or grazing. The fire response of the species is unknown although it has been know to reshoot following fire. Annual burning at one site has been shown to result in population decline.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Predicted None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastBarrington Predicted None
NSW North CoastCataract Predicted None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Predicted None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Predicted None
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
OceanManning Shelf Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None