Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi - key threatening process listing

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi as a KEY THREATENING PROCESS in Schedule 3 of the Act. Listing of key threatening processes is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands is a soil borne pathogen belonging to the water mould group (Oomycetes). The reproductive structures that spread P. cinnamomi (sporangia and clamydospores) form on vegetative mycelia in soil and plant roots in warm, moist conditions. Reproduction and infection occur entirely within soil or plants and there is no airborne transmission of the pathogen.

2. The spread of P. cinnamomi occurs through movement of spores which may swim to new hosts or be dispersed over large distances in flowing water, such as storm runoff. Some spread within a site may be by mycelial growth from infected roots to roots of healthy plants. Propagules of P. cinnamomi may also be dispersed by vehicles (e.g. cars and earth moving equipment) used in a range of activities (e.g. transport, road making and maintenance), animals (e.g. feral pigs - Shearer & Tippett 1989), walkers and movement of soil used in the horticultural industry. In all these cases, movement of P. cinnamomi involves infected soil and/or root material.

3. There is some scientific debate on whether or not Phytophthora cinnamomi is native to eastern Australia (Pratt and Heather 1973, Pratt et al. 1973, Old et al. 1984, 1988). The best current evidence available to the Scientific Committee suggests that Phytophthora cinnamomi is not native to NSW. Independent of the possible origin of the pathogen, it can be considered a threat due to the extensive movement and potential for movement as a result of human activities.

4. Phytophthora cinnamomi was first associated with plant deaths in native vegetation in NSW in the late 1940s (Fraser 1956). The pathogen appears to be widespread in coastal forests (Arentz 1974, Blowes 1980, Gerrettson-Cornell 1986, McDougall and Summerell pers. comm.), but may also occur at higher elevations, e.g. Barrington Tops. There are a number of places where the pathogen is having /has had a demonstrable impact, but P. cinnamomi is not ubiquitous as there are areas containing known susceptible species from which the pathogen cannot be isolated despite extensive soil sampling. Phytophthora cinnamomi infects a large range of species. Susceptible species display a range of symptoms. Some are killed, some are damaged but endure, and some show no apparent symptoms. In some circumstances, P. cinnamomi may contribute to plant death where there are other stresses present (e.g. waterlogging, drought, and perhaps wildfire). Within a plant species there may be a variable response to infection (McDougall et al. 2001).

5. Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi has been identified as a threat to a number of species and communities listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act. This threat results in the death of plants and reduction in habitat complexity. The threatened species and communities so affected include:


  • Epacris purpurascens var. purpurascens
  • Eucalyptus imlayensis
  • Genoplesium rhyoliticum
  • Leionema ralstonii
  • Tasmannia pupurascens
  • Westringia davidii
  • Wollemia nobilis

Animals affected by loss of habitat

  • Isoodon obesulus (Southern Brown Bandicoot)
  • Pseudomys fumeus (Smoky Mouse)

In addition, a number of threatened species and ecological communities occur in the vicinity of known P. cinnamomi infestations or in habitat that may be vulnerable to P. cinnamomi infestation. These species and communities may be adversely affected by P. cinnamomi either because of direct infestation or degradation of habitat.


  • Boronia deanei
  • Darwinia biflora
  • Darwinia peduncularis
  • Dillwynia tenuifolia
  • Epacris hamiltonii
  • Epacris sparsa
  • Eucalyptus camfieldii
  • Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. paludosa
  • Grevillea caleyi
  • Grevillea guthrieana
  • Grevillea molyneuxii
  • Grevillea parviflora subsp. parviflora
  • Grevillea parviflora subsp. supplicans
  • Grevillea rivularis
  • Grevillea wilkinsonii
  • Hakea dohertyi
  • Hibbertia marginata
  • Hibbertia procumbens
  • Isopogon fletcheri
  • Lasiopetalum joyceae
  • Leionema lachnaeoides
  • Leucopogon confertus
  • Leucopogon exolasius
  • Leucopogon fletcheri subsp. fletcheri
  • Macrozamia johnsonii
  • Melaleuca biconvexa
  • Persoonia acerosa
  • Persoonia bargoensis
  • Persoonia glaucescens
  • Persoonia hindii
  • Persoonia hirsuta
  • Persoonia marginata
  • Persoonia mollis subsp. maxima
  • Persoonia nutans
  • Persoonia pauciflora
  • Phyllota humifusa
  • Prostanthera askania
  • Prostanthera cineolifera
  • Prostanthera cryptandroides
  • Prostanthera densa
  • Prostanthera discolor
  • Prostanthera junonis
  • Prostanthera palustris
  • Pultenaea aristata
  • Pultenaea baeuerlenii
  • Pultenaea glabra
  • Pultenaea parrisiae subsp. elusa
  • Pultenaea parrisiae subsp. parrisiae
  • Pultenaea parviflora
  • Pultenaea pedunculata
  • Pultenaea sp. Genowlan Point
  • Rulingia prostrata
  • Styphelia perileuca
  • Tasmannia glaucifolia
  • Tetratheca glandulosa
  • Tetratheca juncea
  • Triplarina nowraensis
  • Westringia kydrensis
  • Zieria adenophora
  • Zieria baeuerlenii
  • Zieria buxijugum
  • Zieria covenyi
  • Zieria formosa
  • Zieria lasiocaulis
  • Zieria murphyi
  • Zieria parrisiae
  • Zieria prostrata
  • Zieria tuberculata

Animals affected by loss of habitat

  • Dasyornis brachypterus (Eastern Bristlebird)
  • Pezoporus wallicus wallicus (Eastern Ground Parrot)
  • Potorous longipes (Long-footed Potoroo)
  • Pseudomys oralis (Hastings River Mouse)

Ecological Communities

  • Duffys Forest
  • Genowlan Point Allocasuarina nana heathland
  • Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub
  • Low woodland with heathland on indurated sand at Norah Head

6. A number of species are not currently threatened but are known, or strongly suspected, to be susceptible to infection by P. cinnamomi in NSW and are killed in its presence. Other species that occur in NSW are known to be susceptible to P. cinnamomi based on work on propagated plants or in populations outside NSW, but are not currently known to be impacted by P. cinnamomi in NSW. Populations of these species, or possibly some species, could become threatened as a result of P. cinnamomi. These species include:


  • Acacia buxifolia subsp. buxifolia
  • Acacia genistifolia
  • Acacia siculiformis
  • Actinotus helianthii
  • Acrotriche serrulata
  • Allocasuarina rigida
  • Allocasuarina verticillata
  • Amperea xiphoclada
  • Angophora costata
  • Aotus ericoides
  • Astroloma humifusum
  • Banksia ericifolia
  • Banksia marginata
  • Banksia serrata
  • Banksia spinulosa var. cunninghamii
  • Boronia anemonifolia
  • Bossiaea cinerea
  • Bossiaea obcordata
  • Brachyloma daphnoides
  • Callitris preissii
  • Calytrix tetragona
  • Cassinia aculeata
  • Conospermum taxifolium
  • Correa reflexa
  • Crowea exalata
  • Crowea saligna
  • Daviesia mimosoides
  • Daviesia wyattiana
  • Dianella longifolia sens. lat.
  • Dillwynia glaberrima
  • Dillwynia phylicoides
  • Dillwynia sericea
  • Diplarrena moraea
  • Dodonaea boroniifolia
  • Dodonaea viscosa
  • Epacris impressa
  • Epacris paludosa
  • Eriostemon myoporoides
  • Eucalyptus baxteri
  • Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
  • Eucalyptus niphophila
  • Eucalyptus obliqua
  • Eucalyptus polyanthemos
  • Eucryphia moorei
  • Exocarpus cupressiformis
  • Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. stenomera
  • Grevillea alpina
  • Grevillea granulifera
  • Grevillea irrasa subsp. irrasa
  • Grevillea juniperina sens. lat.
  • Grevillea lanigera
  • Grevillea linsmithii
  • Grevillea mucronulata
  • Grevillea polybractea
  • Grevillea rosmarinifolia
  • Grevillea victoriae sens. lat.
  • Hakea bakeriana
  • Hakea ulicina
  • Haloragodendron monospermum
  • Helichrysum collinum
  • Hibbertia calycina
  • Hibbertia obtusifolia
  • Hibbertia villosa
  • Hibbertia virgata
  • Hovea linearis
  • Isopogon petiolaris
  • Kennedia prostrata
  • Kunzea ambigua
  • Leptospermum coriaceum
  • Leptospermum juniperinum
  • Leptospermum lanigerum
  • Leucopogon collinus
  • Leucopogon ericoides
  • Leucopogon esquamatus
  • Leucopogon lanceolatus
  • Leucopogon maccraei
  • Leucopogon microphyllus var. pilibundus
  • Leucopogon virgatus
  • Lomatia fraseri
  • Melaleuca squamea
  • Melaleuca uncinata
  • Melichrus urceolatus
  • Monotoca elliptica
  • Monotoca scoparia
  • Ozothamnus obcordatus subsp. major
  • Patersonia sericea
  • Persoonia juniperina
  • Petrophile pulchella
  • Phebalium phylicifolium
  • Phyllanthus hirtellus
  • Podocarpus lawrencei
  • Pomaderris intermedia
  • Prostanthera cuneata
  • Prostanthera lasianthos
  • Prostanthera ovalifolia
  • Prostanthera ringens
  • Prostanthera saxicola var. montana
  • Pultenaea altissima
  • Pultenaea benthamii
  • Pultenaea daphnoides
  • Pultenaea flexilis
  • Pultenaea humilis
  • Pultenaea procumbens
  • Pultenaea pycnocephala
  • Pultenaea subcapitata
  • Pultenaea villifera var. villifera
  • Sprengelia incarnata
  • Stylidium graminifolium
  • Styphelia adscendens
  • Tasmannia lanceolata
  • Telopea mongaensis
  • Telopea speciosissima
  • Tetratheca ciliata
  • Tetratheca pilosa
  • Tetratheca subaphylla
  • Woollsia pungens
  • Xanthorrhoea australis
  • Xanthorrhoea glauca subsp. glauca
  • Xanthorrhoea resinifera
  • Xanthosia tridentata
  • Zieria laevigata

Animals affected by loss of habitat

  • Pseudomys novaehollandiae (New Holland Mouse)

8. 'Dieback caused by the root-rot fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi)' is listed as a key threatening process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).

9. In view of the above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi adversely affects two or more threatened species or ecological communities and could cause species that are not threatened to become threatened.

Proposed Gazettal date: 13/12/02
Exhibition period: 13/12/02 - 31/01/03


Arentz, F. (1974). Studies on Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.

Blowes, W.M. (1980). A comparison of the occurrence, sporulation and survival of Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands in soils supporting native forest in south-eastern New South Wales and south-western Western Australia. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.

Fraser, L.R. (1956). Phytophthora cinnamomi attacking native plants. Australian Plant Disease Recorder 8, 12.

Gerrettson-Cornell, L. (1986). Phytophthora cinnamomi in New South Wales. Forestry Commission of N.S.W. Government Printer, Sydney.

McDougall, K.L., Hardy, G.E.StJ. and Hobbs, R.J. (2001). Some additions to the host range of Phytophthora cinnamomi in the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest of Western Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 49, 193-198.

Old, K.M., Dudzinski, M.J. and Bell, J.C. (1988). Isozyme variability in field populations of Phytophthora cinnamomi in Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 36, 355-360.

Old, K.M., Moran, G.F. and Bell, J.C. (1984). Isozyme variability among isolates of Phytophthora cinnamomi from Australia and Papua New Guinea. Canadian Journal of Botany 62, 2016-2022.

Pratt, B.H. and Heather, W.A. (1973). The origin and distribution of Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands in Australian native plant communities and the significance of its association with particular plant species. Australian Journal of Biological Science 26, 559-573.

Pratt, B.H., Heather, W.A. and Shepherd, C.J. (1973). Recovery of Phytophthora cinnamomi from native vegetation in a remote area of New South Wales. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 60, 197-204.

Shearer, B.L. and Tippett, J.T. (1989). Jarrah Dieback: The Dynamics and Management of Phytophthora cinnamomi in the Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) Forest of South-western Australia. Research Bulletin No. 3. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, Western Australia.