Studying the critically endangered Purple Wattle

Published 01 Sep 2017 
by Paul Williams 
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Acacia purpureopetala up close (photo by Andrew Ford)<br/> Acacia purpureopetala up close (photo by Andrew Ford)
Acacia purpureopetala in flower (photo by Paul Williams)<br/> Acacia purpureopetala in flower (photo by Paul Williams)
Acacia purpureopetala in transect.<br/> Acacia purpureopetala in transect.

Acacia purpureopetala is a small wattle with attractive pink/purple flowers – it's the only Australian wattle with purple flowers in fact! It has a restricted distribution in north Queensland, growing in the Atherton to Mt Garnet district. Acacia purpureopetala is listed as critically endangered and is one of the Australian Government’s 30 priority threatened plant species.

In association with CSIRO, NSW Herbarium and Vegetation Management Science, we're undertaking an evaluation of Acacia purpureopetala populations to better understand the management requirements of this unique wattle.

Funded through the Australian Government Threatened Species Recovery Plan, this project is documenting the current extent of Acacia purpureopetala populations and searching for undocumented, additional populations. So far our surveys have uncovered 200 new plants, which increases the total known population to 700!

We're also evaluating the plant’s responses to disturbances and threats to long-term population stability. We'll use DNA analysis to understand the species genetic variation across its range and undertake a seed germination trial to assess the propagation requirements of this rare species.

Acacia purpureopetala in flower (photo by Paul Williams)<br/> Acacia purpureopetala in flower (photo by Paul Williams)
Acacia purpureopetala in transect.<br/> Acacia purpureopetala in transect.