#Threatened Species of the Week: Tetratheca nephelioides

Tetratheca nephelioides is listed as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) and as Declared Rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Tetratheca nephelioides is known from just seven populations that have been found approximately 13 km south of Eneabba. Five of these populations occur within the South Eneabba Nature Reserve, which is within an active mining lease. Two of these populations occur mainly on, and adjacent to, a firebreak. The remaining two populations occur partially within this reserve and partially on the adjacent road verge.

Tetratheca nephelioides is an erect clumped shrub that can grow to 0.4 m high and 0.8 m wide. Stems are erect, sparsely branched, and numerous from the woody base. Stems appear leafless, but have small (2–3 mm long), deciduous leaves (lanceolate), that have a conspicuous mid-vein. The deep mauve to magenta flowers appear in September.

The key threats to the species include land clearing for agriculture and mining, and inappropriate fire regimes.

The species has been collected from white-grey sand and yellow-brown clayey sand in lateritic upland sites. Associated vegetation includes kwongan heath and low shrubland comprising of Lambertia multiflora (many-flowered honeysuckle), Hakea auriculata, Banksia shuttleworthiana (bearded banksia – formerly Dryandra), Allocasuarina humilis (dwarf sheoak) and species of Calothamnus and Petrophile with Eucalyptus gittinsii (northern sandplain mallee), Eucalyptus johnsoniana (Johnson’s mallee) and Xanthorrhoea drummondii (grasstree).

Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment, Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia and the Atlas of Living Australia.

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