#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Koobabbie Poverty Bush

Eremophila koobabbiensis is generally referred to by its common name of Koobabbie Poverty Bush. It is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) and as Declared Rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

The Koobabbie Poverty Bush is an erect shrub that can grow to 1.5 m in height. The species has dark purple flowers and flowers all year round, but most prominently between October and November.

Image from the Eremophila Koobabbiensis Interim Recovery Plan.
Image from the Eremophila Koobabbiensis Interim Recovery Plan.

The Koobabbie Poverty Bush is endemic to Western Australia, and is known from three subpopulations near the town of Coorow. The first collection of the Koobabbie Poverty Bush was made from an area of remnant bushland on private property.

Following searches on other parts of the property, and in similar habitat in surrounding areas, a second subpopulation was discovered on the same property in 2007.

In August 2008, a third (translocated) subpopulation was established on the property. This third subpopulation consisted of 74 seedlings, however it is not certain that these 74 seedlings will survive to maturity and reproduce.

The Koobabbie Poverty Bush grows on flat brown loamy soil in woodland dominated by Salmon Gum (Eucalyptus salmonophloia), Gimlet (Eucalyptus salubris) and York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba). Understory species associated with the Koobabbie Poverty Bush include Eremophila sargentiiAcacia hemiteles and Maireana brevifolia

The species is related to Pinnate-leaf Eremophila (E. pinnatifida – see NACC Notes 2/11/2016) but is distinguished from it by its smaller flowers and smaller, less prominently lobed leaves.

The main threats to the Koobabbie Poverty Bush include competition from weeds and inappropriate fire regimes. Weeds will compete (particularly with seedlings) for resources and they also increase the fire hazard due to the easy ignition of high fuel loads which are produced annually by many weed species.

It is not known what the fire response of the species is, however frequent fire would most likely destroy subpopulations if it occurs before regenerating, or juvenile plants have reached maturity, produced seed and replenished the soil seed bank.  However, it is thought that the species may require occasional fire to induce germination of soil stored seed.

Stock grazing and trampling was a past threat to the Koobabbie Poverty Bush. It is likely that the species was grazed by stock until the area was fenced in 1989. Prior to fencing, stock would have been able to move through the site and graze or trample on the species. Grazing would also have contributed to the degradation of the habitat, and the introduction of weeds.

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

Related Posts

Leave a reply