#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa (Spiral-fruited Wattle)

Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa (more commonly known as the Spiral-fruited Wattle), is listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and as Declared rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

 The Spiral-fruited Wattle is a sprawling shrub to 0.7 m high and up to 3 m wide with golden, obloid to short cylindrical flower-heads

This species has been recorded in the past over a range of almost 250 km, from north of Watheroo to the Swan River near Perth. The majority of these collections were made over a range of about 20 km to the north of Watheroo, but most of these roadside populations appear to have been lost.

Only one population is currently known to exist. This consists of two subpopulations, growing within 1 km of each other on a disturbed roadside adjoining private property. However since 1998, it has been planted and established successfully in disused gravel pits in a nature reserve near Watheroo.

This species occurs in disturbed roadsides on often gravelly, clayey sand over laterite. The vegetation is low open scrub with Allocasuarina campestrisHakea scoparia and other Acacia species.

Flowers are borne from June to August, and mature pods have been collected in November. and December. Low fruit production has been observed due to predation and insect galling of the flower.

Studies indicate that seeds are patchily distributed in the soil and that germinations is increased by scarification or exposure to heat. It has been demonstrated that experimental fires can break seed dormancy and promote germination.

Size class structure, levels of canopy death and an absence of juveniles indicate that all populations are in decline. All populations were capable of producing viable seed but seed production varied considerably between years and populations.

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

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