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ASBS Newsletter – Article

Dampiera fusca (Goodeniaceae):
An extension of range, conservation status assessment, and identification notes

S. Alston1, G. Chandler2, H. Lawley2, D. Martin3, S. Podreka1, S. Richmond1, M. Ryan4, N. Taws1

1 - School of Resource & Environmental Science, University of Canberra, PO Box 1, Belconnen. ACT. 2616
2 - Division of Botany & Zoology, Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra. ACT. 2601
3 - c/o Australian National Botanic Gardens Herbarium, GPO Box 1777, Canberra ACT 2601

(From ASBS Newsletter Number 74, March 1993)


Recent field work has revealed the presence of Dampiera fusca Rajput & Carolin in the Tinderry Range (N.S.W. Southern Tablelands botanical district) south of Canberra. The species has previously been known only from restricted occurrences in the Kybeyan range area c. 80 km to the south, and Nunniong Plateau in far north-east Gippsland, Victoria. Site information on the Tinderry Range population is provided and compared with the other areas of occurrence, and a conservation coding of 3RC- is recommended. Problems with keying the species in the Flora of Australia and Flora of New South Wales treatment are discussed, and key amendments suggested.

In the course of field work in January 1993, a small population of Dampiera fusca Rajput & Carolin (1988: 205) was discovered in the Tinderry Range Nature Reserve, c. 47 km SSE of Canberra. Herbarium specimens were collected (Lyne 1134 & Telford; CBG, MEL, NSW). Approximately 20 plants were seen in a localised population at 35 deg. 43' 41" S, 149 deg. 16' 20" E (grid reference 8726 Michelago: 055,443), high on the western flank of the Tinderry Range at 1400 m altitude.

Geology of the area is dominated by Tinderry Granite (biotite granite). The population found occurs in a shallow basin just below the summit ridge, draining westward towards the Murrumbidgee River. All plants were growing on the floor of the basin in a well-drained coarse sandy granite-derived gravel with little humus present.

The plants occur in a sparse herbaceous understorey in an opening of Eucalyptus pauciflora and E. latiuscula woodland on the basin floor. The species does not occur on the adjacent slopes which support a loamy soil with an open forest of the same two eucalypt species and a dense shrub understorey of Ozothamnus thyrsoides, Olearia montana, Polyscias sambucifolia and Oxylobium ilicifolium.


The species has previously been known only from restricted occurrences ESE of Cooma at the northern end of the Kybeyan range (c. 80 km S of the Tinderry Range), and the Nunniong Plateau in far north-east Gippsland, Victoria.

The Kybeyan Range populations occur on peaks and ridges at the edge of the tablelands escarpment at altitudes of 940 to c. 1200 m, over a range of roughly 12 km, on the catchments of the upper Tuross and Wadbilliga Rivers. Vouchered localities are: [upper Bumberry Creek area] (Parris 9169; CBG, NSW); Kydra Peak (Rogers & Willis, 11 Jan 1970; Holotype MEL 501963, Iso NSW); and 'SE of Wadbilliga Trig' (Telford 3662; CBG, MEL).

The Bumberry Creek site is dominated by Allocasuarina nana heathland, with recorded associate species including Eucalyptus sp. aff. radiata, Daviesia ulicifolia, Baeckea denticulata, Acacia lucasii, Pimelea collina, and Pultenaea sp.; substrate is recorded as 'loam over sediments', probably Ordovician metamorphics. The Kydra Peak population is recorded as occurring on sandstone (presumably the Lambie Shelf formation). The Wadbilliga Trig population is probably on similar Lambie Shelf formation substrates and is recorded from 'open eucalypt forest'.

The Nunniong Plateau records (upper Buchan River catchment) were collected from ridge lines in the area of Brumby Point and Diggers Hole Track, at altitudes of 1350-1500 m (inferred) ; associated vegetation is given on one label (Forbes 267, MEL) as Eucalyptus pauciflora with Oxylobium alpestre and Poa australis. The general area is dominated by mallee shrublands and montane sclerophyll woodland; geological substrates are primarily sedimentary and metamorpic strata including slates and quartzite.

Conservation status

Dampiera fusca has not to date been assigned a ROTAP conservation code, but qualifies as rare given the small number of populations known, and a probably narrow range of suitable altitudinal and habitat preferences. The Tinderry Range population (c. 20 plants known) is within Tinderry Range Nature Reserve, and the Kybeyan Range populations (recorded as locally frequent) are all within Wadbilliga National Park. The Nunniong Plateau occurrences are within or immediately adjacent to Alpine National Park; these populations are scattered and of fairly low density (D. Albrecht & N. Walsh, pers. comm.). No significant threatening processes are known, but variations in fire regime and feral animal (goat, pig) disturbance would require management consideration at each site. Following the criteria of Briggs and Leigh (1988), a conservation code of 3RC- is here recommended (3, small populations over a geographic range of > 100 km; R, rare; C-, represented within reserves but population size unknown).


Some problems were encountered for this species in using the keys provided in the Flora of Australia treatment of the genus (Rajput & Carolin, 1992), and in the Flora of New South Wales (Carolin, 1992).

In Rajput & Carolin (1992), the key to artificial groups (p. 35), couplet 3 requires D. fusca specimens to agree with the clause `young stems flat, triangular, or with a narrow groove ...' for successful identification (via Group 3). The Tinderry Range material has youngest stems appearing subterete, although when a cross-section is taken they are seen to be obscurely triangular; older stems are fairly clearly 3-angled.

In Group 3 (p. 37), couplet 8 requires D. fusca to have `Corolla hairs yellowish grey, yellowish brown, or golden', as opposed to `grey or black'. We have found this character state difference to be unreliable. Most specimens have an apparently two-layer indumentum, the lower layer comprising short (juvenile?) stellate hairs with more or less equal length arms, and the basal branches of fully developed `type v' branched hairs (sensu Rajput & Carolin). The apparent overlying layer comprises the elongate arms of mature `type v' hairs. In the Tinderry Range material, the `basal layer' is dirty grey in colour, and the overlying layer is pale but not yellowish. Some other specimens from New South Wales provenances (e.g. Rogers MEL 600175; Cambage NSW 100308) have the `basal layer' of a similar grey colour and the `overlying layer' not, or scarcely, yellowish. Other characters of the Tinderry Range material appear fully consistent with D. fusca and there seems no serious reason to doubt its assignment to that species.

We suggest the following amendment to the Flora of Australia key in Group 3, to accomodate grey-haired material:

14: Sepals distinct, > 1 mm long ................................... D. sylvestris
14: Sepals minute (< 1 mm long, obscured by hairs), or obsolete

    15: Corolla indumentum more or less smooth-appressed, with `type iv'hairs (Western Australia) .......................... D. loranthifolia

    15: Corolla indumentum loose-ascending, with 'type v' hairs (south-eastern Australia) .............................. D. fusca

In Carolin (1992: 452), couplet 2 requires D. fusca to have papillate stems; this is observable on a few specimens only; others lack papillae or have a loose indumentum obscuring the stem surface. To account for this, and to allow for the variability of the complex defined as D. stricta, we suggest the following amendments to the key:

2 Stems always with a mid-dense conspicuous indumentum of stellate hairs on the upper few internodes, gradually glabrescent below; inflorescences very shortly pedunculate or sessile, flowers and subtending leaves forming congested pseudo-whorls on suppressed lateral branchlets; leaves cuneate-oblanceolate to obovate in gross outline .................. D. fusca

2* Stems quite glabrous (or occasionally a short open indumentum of stellate hairs on newest growth only); inflorescences usually obviously pedunculate, flowers and subtending leaves not (or only loosely) clustered along stems; leaves linear to oblong, elliptical or lanceolate in gross outline

(then resume key as published, at couplet 3).


hanks to Ian Telford, Bob Makinson and Andrew Lyne for guidance with field work and manuscript; David Albrecht and Neville Walsh for information on the Victorian populations; Joy Everett for comments on the keying problems; and the Directors of the National Herbaria of Victoria and New South Wales for the loan of specimens.

This paper was prepared as part of work performed under the 1993 Botanical Student Internship Program of the Australian National Botanic Gardens Herbarium.


Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh (1988): Rare or Threatened Australian Plants. Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service Special Publication 14, Canberra.

Carolin, R.C. (1992): 143 Goodeniaceae. In Harden, G.J. (ed.), Flora of New South Wales Vol. 3. University of New South Wales Press, Kensington

Rajput, M.T.M. & Carolin, R.C. (1988): The genus Dampiera (Goodeniaceae): systematic arrangement, nomenclatural notes and new taxa. Telopea 3: 183-216.

Rajput, M.T.M. & Carolin, R.C. (1992): Dampiera. In: Flora of Australia 35, pp. 34-80. AGPS, Canberra.