Galium australe (a herb) - endangered species listing

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list the herb Galium australe DC., as an ENDANGERED SPECIES in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Act, and as a consequence, to omit reference to Galium australe DC., from Part 4 of Schedule 1 (Species presumed extinct) of the Act. Listing of endangered species is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. Galium australe DC. (family Rubiaceae) is described in Harden, G. J. (ed). Flora of New South Wales. Vol. 3 (1992). p. 485, NSW University Press, Sydney, as a: straggling or intertwining perennial; stems weak, usually little-branched, 20-60 cm long, sparsely to densely hairy, rarely glabrous. Leaves and stipules in whorls of 4, elliptic to lanceolate or oblong, 4-12 mm long, 1.5-4 mm wide, apex acute to obtuse-mucronate, upper surface with antrorse hairs, occasionally with spreading hairs or rarely ± glabrous, lower surface with hairs confined to the midvein; petiole minute. Inflorescences 1-7-flowered; peduncles 2.5-10 mm long, ± apically curved. Flowers c. 2 mm long, white. Fruit c. 1.5 mm long with numerous ± transparent hooked hairs. Flowers mostly summer.

2. Galium australe occurs in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. In New South Wales it is currently known from 13 locations between Sydney and Eden, with an outlying record to the north from near Byabarra on the north coast. Two populations occur in Nature Reserves, four in National Parks, two in a Regional Park and the remainder on freehold and crown land. Populations of G. australe are generally small, comprising few individuals.

3. Galium australe has been recorded from a range of habitats in NSW including a valley floor, alluvial soil beside a creek, heathland in a rocky gully, and the top of an escarpment above a creek. It has a patchy distribution, with low numbers of plants recorded at most locations and with the total number currently estimated to be less than 200.

4. At least three of the populations of Galium australe are potentially threatened with weed invasion, inappropriate fire regimes and other threats associated with the close proximity of urban areas. The low number and small patch size of each population also expose the species to stochastic events that may cause substantial declines or local extinctions.

5. In view of the above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Galium australe DC. is likely to become extinct unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate.

Associate Professor Paul Adam
Scientific Committee

Proposed Gazettal date: 17/12/04
Exhibition period: 17/12/04 - 28/01/05