#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Petrophile nivea

Petrophile nivea has recently been listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and under the WA Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Petrophile nivea is an upright, woody, rigid shrub growing from 0.4 – 0.6m high and to a width of 0.3 – 0.4m. This species has white flowers blooming from May to August, and crowded blue-green leaves that largely conceal the surfaces of the branchlets. Petrophile nivea can further be characterised by its dense, zigzag growth pattern and its short seasonal growth increments that are produced at a wide angle (45°). The terete (cylindrical and slightly tapering) leaves are gently s-shaped, 10-15mm long by 1-1.5mm wide. The nuts are broadly ovate-cordate, 3 x 2.5mm and predominantly beaked.

Petrophile nivea is endemic to WA, occurring in the Northern Agricultural Region near Badgingarra. This species grows in shallow white sand over laterite in heathland that is very rich in Proteaceae. Petrophile nivea also grows with ten other species of Petrophile, including P. aculeata, P. brevifolia, P. chrysantha, and P. linearis.

Petrophile nivea is threatened by a number of processes, including clearing, altered fire regimes, rabbits, drought, and a small subpopulation size. Altered fire regimes may threaten Petrophile nivea, as it is not known what the fire response of the species is. Frequent fire may result in a reduced seed bank if it occurs before plants reach maturity.

Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Energy and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and Florabase.

Leave a reply