Nature conservation

Threatened species

Salt Pipewort - 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: Eriocaulon carsonii
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 03 Jan 2019


Small tufted herb with flowering stems 3-8 cm high. Leaves lance-shaped in a basal tuft, 1.5-6 cm long and 3-10 mm wide, striped. Flowerhead spherical, 3-4 mm diameter, a mixture of male and female flowers, all surrounded by stiff and transparent bracts. All flowers have 2 whorls of segments, the male with inner whorl fused, the female with both whorls free. Fruit a membranous, swollen, 3-celled capsule, seeds solitary in each cell.


Very rare, occurring west from the Tilpa district in far north-western NSW, into the Lake Eyre region of SA and Qld. Only two sites were previously known in NSW, the type locality of Wee Wata Springs where the species was first collected in 1888, and Peery Lake 40km east of White Cliffs and some 100 km from the type locality. Wee Wata Springs has been examined several times in the last few decades but the mound spring has been destroyed by trampling stock.  Another site recorded near Tilpa in 1888 also lacks current specimens. Extant on one mound on the western side of Peery Lake.

Habitat and ecology

  • Grows in running water and forms dense mats in wet soil around shallow springs. The species is an endemic of active or flowing artesian mound springs on the margins of the Great Artesian Basin.
  • Mound springs are natural outlets of the Basin, associated with fractures and fault lines, often having mounds of various sizes. Accumulated evaporite and mud deposits form mounds 1 to 10 metres high and 2 to 100+ metres in diameter. The faults provide direct access for the artesian water to reach the surface. These landforms are probably one of the rarest habitats in Australia.
  • Originally restricted to a single mound at Peery Lake in NSW, in an area of many mounds. More recently the plant has spread to adjacent mounds, then contracted again, suggesting that stochastic events are strongly influencing population stability.
  • The population structure of Eriocaulon carsonii changed after fencing at Elizabeth Springs in Qld, with large numbers of small immature plants replaced by a smaller number of larger plants.
  • Observations of density of kangaroo scats at Peery Lake suggest that kangaroos heavily graze the mounds. Kangaroo grazing apparently limits the growth of sedges on the mounds, reducing competition, thus benefiting Eriocaulon carsonii.
  • The species is often recorded growing in dense mats of numerous individuals.

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
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Known None
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Known None
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Known None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Known None
Other StateSA Known None