Hidden beard heath (leucopogon obtectus) recovery plan

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Department of Environment and Conservation


Recovery Plans (RPs) and Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Policy Statements Nos. 44 and 50. Note: the Department of CALM formally became the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) in July 2006. DEC will continue to adhere to these Policy Statements until they are revised and reissued.
Plans outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities and begin the recovery process.
DEC is committed to ensuring that Threatened taxa are conserved through the preparation and implementation of plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and, in the case of Critically Endangered (CR) taxa, always within one year of endorsement of that rank by the Minister.
This plan will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the taxon is still ranked Endangered (against IUCN criteria), this plan will be reviewed after five years and the need for further recovery actions assessed.
This plan, which was given regional approval on 2 March, 2006 and approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 21 March, 2006, was updated in March 2010. The allocation of staff time and provision of funds identified in this plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting DEC, as well as the need to address other priorities.
This plan was written and endorsed as an IRP in Western Australia, and it is also the National Recovery Plan for this Ecological Community as listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Information in this plan was accurate as at March 2010.
This plan was prepared by Ben Bayliss1, Heather Taylor1, Gina Broun2 & Andrew Brown3

1 Project Officer, Species and Communities Branch, DEC, Locked Bag 104, Bentley DC 6983

2 Flora Conservation Officer, Moora District, DEC, PO Box 638, Jurien Bay, WA 6516.

3 Threatened Flora Coordinator, Species and Communities Branch, DEC, Locked Bag 104, Bentley DC 6983
The following people have provided assistance and advice in the preparation of this plan:
Eric Bunn Research Scientist, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

Anne Cochrane Manager, DEC's Threatened Flora Seed Centre

Duanne Ginger Environmental Officer, Eneabba Operations Iluka Resources Ltd.

Kelly Poultney Technical Officer (Rare Flora Database), DEC Species and Communities Branch

Amanda Shade Horticulturalist, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
Thanks also to the staff of the W.A. Herbarium for providing access to Herbarium databases and specimen information, and DEC Species and Communities Branch for assistance.
Cover photograph by Stephen Hopper

This plan should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Conservation (2006). Hidden Beard Heath (Leucopogon obtectus) Interim Recovery Plan 2006-2011. Interim Recovery Plan No. 227. Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth, Western Australia.


Scientific Name:

Leucopogon obtectus

Common Name:

Hidden Beard Heath



Flowering Period:

October - March

DEC Region:


DEC District:



Carnamah, Coorow, Irwin, Three Springs and Dandaragan

Recovery Team:

Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team

Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds) (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Leigh, J., Boden, R. and Briggs, J. (1984) Extinct and Endangered Plants of Australia. The Macmillan Co. of Australia Pty Ltd. Hong Kong; FloraBase - Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management (2009), Western Australia. http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/science/.
Leucopogon obtectus was first collected between the Moore and Murchison rivers by James Drummond and was named by Bentham in 1868. It was then not until 1978 that the species was again seen and collected. A comprehensive survey by CALM in 1981 found about 100 plants in 25 small populations, many of which consisted of a single plant. A reserve northwest of Eneabba in which populations of L. obtectus occur was gazetted for flora and fauna conservation in 1989.

Leucopogon is derived from the Greek leucos (white) and pogon (beard), referring to the white bearded corolla lobes while the species name obtectus, is derived from the latin obtego (to cover, conceal, protect), referring to the complete covering of the branches by the overlapping leaves.
Current status: Leucopogon obtectus was declared as Rare Flora in September 1987 under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and is currently ranked as Endangered (EN) in Western Australia against World
Conservation Union (IUCN) criterion D (IUCN 2001) as there were less than 250 mature individuals known at that time. There are now over 500 plants known and it strictly meets VU under IUCN criterion D.
Leucopogon obtectus is also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The main threats are degradation of habitat (largely through mining and exploration), road and rail maintenance, and inappropriate fire regimes. Potential threats are weed invasion and dieback.
Description: Leucopogon obtectus is an erect, open shrub growing to about 1.5 m tall with broad, almost heart-shaped, concave, stalkless leaves that overlap and conceal the stem. The leaves are about 1 cm long and 1 cm wide, a pale bluish-green colour and rigid with a short point at the tip. Two or 3 creamy yellow flowers are held on very short stalks in each leaf axil. Each flower has 6 petals, united to form a tube towards the base. Five of the petal lobes spread outwards to show the dense hairs on the inner surface. Five stamens alternate with the petals. Smooth, green, egg-shaped fruits hold a single seed (Brown et. al, 1998).
Distribution and habitat: The main distribution of Leucopogon obtectus is north-west and south-east of Eneabba over a range of about 30 km. Generally the species is found as small, scattered groups in low, open heath on the crests and upper slopes of sand dunes, or more rarely in interdunal swales in grey-white or pale yellow sand (Brown et. al, 1998). The taxon is generally taller than the surrounding low heath. It grows in association with Banksia hookeriana, B. menziesii, B. candolleana, Calothamnus sanguineus and Hakea sp.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: The habitat critical to the survival of Leucopogon obtectus comprises the vegetation in which important populations occur; areas of similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; remnant vegetation linking populations, the local surface and ground water catchments that maintain the habitat of the species and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species.

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