Nature conservation

Threatened species

Chariot Wheels - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
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: Maireana cheelii
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 17 Aug 2018


Perennial forb to about 20 cm high, with slender striped woolly stems and a fleshy swollen taproot. Leaves narrow-cylindrical and slender, to about 6 mm long, hairless. Flowers solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils. The fruiting body is whitish, often slightly woolly or cottony above, 5-6 mm in diameter, with 5 distinctly wheel-like wings, each fan-shaped and radiating up to 2.5 mm long.


Restricted to the southern Riverina region of NSW, mainly in the area between Deniliquin and Hay. Also has a limited distribution in Victoria where very rare. NSW collections have mainly been from the Moulamein, Deniliquin and Hay districts, including Tchelery and Zara Stations. There is an outlying record from “Wangareena east of Wanaaring”.

Habitat and ecology

  • Usually found on heavier, grey clay soils with Atriplex vesicaria (Bladder Saltbush). Recorded on the Hay Plain in Atriplex vesicaria, Maireana aphylla and Acacia homalophylla shrublands. Soils include heavy brown to red-brown clay-loams, hard cracking red clay, other heavy texture-contrast soils.
  • Tends to grow in shallow depressions, often on eroded or scalded surfaces, and does not extend to the higher soils in the habitat. It has been found on the edges of bare, windswept claypans, in shallow depressions of eroded surfaces where rainwater collects and on a “shelf” in the crabhole complex of heavy grey soils.
  • Associated species include Atriplex vesicaria, Maireana pentagona, M. excavata, M. ciliata, Cressa cretica, Avena fatua and Acacia homalophylla.
  • Flowering time is mostly spring to summer. Bears fruits mostly from September to November.
  • The species is never common, with small localised occurrences in scattered localities. It has been recorded as common, dense and very abundant in its localised populations.

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
Mulga LandsCuttaburra-Paroo Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known West of Finley
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known West of Darlington Point, west of Jerilderie