#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Acacia forrestiana Forrest’s Wattle

Acacia forrestiana (also known as Forest’s Wattle or Forrest’s Wattle) is listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and as Declared rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Current threats to some populations include fire, track creation, or weed infestation. The main potential threats to Forest’s Wattle include inappropriate fire regimes; broad scale vegetation clearing; increasing fragmentation and loss of remnants; pathogens; and dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Acacia forrestiana, Family Mimosaceae, is a stiff, spiky, erect shrub and grows from 0.4–1 m high. The leaf-like phyllodes are triangular in shape, 10- 20 mm long, 5-10 mm wide, and are sharply pointed. The species produces yellow globular flower-heads, which are borne from October to December. Plants are killed by fire and regeneration occurs from seed.

The species is closely allied to Acacia huegelii, which has a more southerly distribution and a different phyllode shape.

Forest’s Wattle is endemic to Western Australia, and is known from two localities north of Perth. It occurs near Dandaragan and near Jurien Bay, over a range of about 80 km. Precise localities in the Hill River district are withheld for conservation reasons. Many populations are conserved in Lesueur National Park.

Forest’s Wattle grows in rocky or lateritic clay loams or in gravelly soils over sandstone. The species inhabits gullies and slopes of lateritic hills. Associated vegetation is heath or low woodland of Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) and Marri (E. calophylla), with shrubs such as Honey bush (Hakea lissocarpha), Grevillea spp., Acacia spp., Isopogon spp., Calothamnus spp., and Melaleuca spp.

In 2001, there were a total of 14 known populations of Forest’s Wattle, supporting between 10 and 500 plants each. Ten of the known populations occur in a National Park, with the rest occurring on private property or in road reserves. Eleven of the known populations were considered to be in an undisturbed/good condition, with the remaining three being disturbed by fire, track creation, or weed infestation.

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



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