Nature conservation

Threatened species

Austral Pillwort - 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: Pilularia novae-hollandiae
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 18 Oct 2022


Austral Pillwort is a semi-aquatic fern, resembling a small fine grass. Its thread-like fronds, to 8 cm long, arise in tufts from a creeping underground stem (rhizome). The fruiting capsules are small, spherical hairy pills that form at the base of fronds.


In NSW, Austral Pillwort has been recorded from suburban Sydney, Khancoban, the Riverina between Albury and Urana (including Henty, Walbundrie, Balldale and Howlong), Oolambeyan National Park near Carrathool and at Lake Cowal near West Wyalong. The populations at Lake Cowal and Oolambeyan NP are the only known extant populations in NSW, although the species is obscure and has possibly been overlooked elsewhere. The species has also been recorded in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Habitat and ecology

  • Austral Pillwort grows in shallow swamps and waterways, often among grasses and sedges. It is most often recorded in drying mud as this is when it is most conspicuous.
  • Most of the records in the Albury-Urana area were from table drains on the sides of roads.
  • The ACT record was from a subalpine grassy plain.
  • This species is probably ephemeral (especially in the drier parts of its range), appearing when soils are moistened by rain.

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
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Predicted South of Wagga Wagga
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
Other StateSA Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Predicted None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known East of Deniliquin
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Predicted None
Sydney BasinCumberland Predicted None
Sydney BasinYengo Predicted None