Keighery’s Macarthuria (Macarthuria keigheryi) recovery plan

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Keighery’s Macarthuria  

(Macarthuria keigheryi)  


Department of Environment and Conservation  


Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 


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. 

IRPs 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 and threatened ecological communities are conserved through the 

preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans (RPs) or IRPs, 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This IRP will operate from April 2007 to March 2012 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended 

that, if the taxon is still ranked Endangered, this IRP will be reviewed after five years and the need for a further recovery 

actions assessed. 

This IRP was approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 30 April 2008. The allocation of staff time and provision 

of funds identified in this IRP is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting DEC, as well as the need to 

address other priorities. 

Information in this IRP was accurate in April 2008. 

This IRP was prepared with financial support from the Australian Government to be adopted as a National Recovery Plan 

under the provisions of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). 


This IRP was prepared by Simon Cherriman


, Nicole Willers

and David Mitchell

Project Officer, DEC Swan Region, 20 Dick Perry Ave Bentley, WA, 6102.  

Flora Conservation Officer, DEC Swan Region, 20 Dick Perry Ave Bentley, WA, 6102.  

Regional Leader, Nature Conservation, DEC Swan Region, 20 Dick Perry Ave Bentley, WA, 6102.  


The following people have provided assistance and advice in the preparation of this IRP: 

Monica Batista 

Project Officer, Species and Communities Branch, DEC 

Andrew Brown 

Threatened Flora Coordinator, Species and Communities Branch, DEC 

Vanessa Clarke 

Flora Conservation Officer, Swan Region, DEC 

Craig Douglas 

Project Officer, Species and Communities Branch, DEC 

Val English 

Acting Principal Ecologist, Species and Communities Branch, DEC 

Greg Keighery 

Principle Research Scientist, Science Division, DEC 

Amanda Shade 

Horticulturalist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority 

Bryan Shearer 

Principal Research Scientist, Biodiversity Conservation Group, DEC 

Greg Woodman 

Director, Woodman Environmental Consultancy 

Thanks also to the staff of the W.A. Herbarium for providing access to Herbarium databases and specimen information, and 

DEC's Wildlife Branch for assistance. 

Cover photograph by Greg Keighery. 


This Recovery Plan should be cited as: 

Department of Environment and Conservation (2009). Keighery’s Macarthuria (Macarthuria keigheryi)  Recovery Plan, 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth, Western Australia. 

Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 


Scientific Name: 

Macarthuria keigheryi 

Common Name: 

Keighery’s Macarthuria 



Flowering Period: 

September – December, February – March 

DEC Region: 

Swan and Midwest 

DEC District: 

Swan Coastal and Moora 


Swan, Kalamunda and 

Recovery Team: 

Swan Region and Moora District 


Threatened Flora and Communities 

Recovery Teams (SRTFCRT, MDTFCRT) 


Belmont and Canning 

Illustrations and/or further information: Atkins, K. (2008) Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia, 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Merchant, N. (Eds) 

(1998) Western Australia's Threatened Flora,. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Threatened 

Ecological Community database (2007) Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia; Declared Endangered 

Flora Database (2007) Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia; Close, D. & Dixon, K. (2005) 

Research Plan for Conservation of Nationally Threatened Conospermum undulatum and  Macarthuria keigheryi on 

Westralia Airports Corporation Bushland, Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Western Australia; Bush Forever Volume 2 

Directory of Bush Forever Sites (2000) Department of Environmental Protection, Perth Western Australia; Evans, R., Willers, 

N., and Mitchell, D. (2003) Threatened flora of Swan Region. Unpublished report to the Department of Conservation and 

Land Management and Environment Australia; Keighery, B. (2001) Conservation Category Wetlands in Bush Forever Site 

283 East of McDowell Street, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Lepschi B. J. (1996) A 

Taxonomic revision of Macarthuria. Nuytsia  11(1). 12-13; IUCN (2001) IUCN Red List Categories prepared by the IUCN 

Species Survival Commission, as approved by the 51st meeting of the IUCN Council. Gland, Switzerland; Western Australian 

Herbarium (2007) FloraBase -Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Environment and Conservation, 

Western Australia. 

Current status: Macarthuria keigheryi was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 

1950 in 1997 and is currently ranked as Endangered (EN) under World Conservation Union (IUCN 2001) Red List criterion 

B2ab(iii) as the area of occupancy is less than 500 km


, populations are severely fragmented and there is a continuing decline in the 

quality of habitat. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity 

Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Threats include: urban development and clearing, mining, fragmentation of populations, 

weeds, grazing by rabbits, road maintenance and construction, inappropriate fire regimes, firebreak maintenance, and other impacts of 


Description: Macarthuria keigheryi is a small erect shrub up to 40 cm tall with hairy, bright yellow to green stems. The leaves are 

present mainly at the base of the stems and on young growth. They are narrowly obovate to elliptic in shape, 2.7 - 11.5 mm long and 

0.7 - 3.5 mm broad. The flowers have five sepals that are hairy on the outside. The outer sepals are green, the inner are partly white and 

membranous. The five petals are narrow, falling early. There are eight stamens joined at the base. The style is small, divided into 

three. The seeds are normally round, black and shiny. Macarthuria keigheryi is distinguished from other members of the genus by a 

dense covering of golden hairs on the stems and leaves. Additional details are available in the taxonomic description provided in 

Section 6. 

Habitat requirements: Macarthuria keigheryi is currently known from six populations over a range of approximately 160 km. 

However, plants have not been recorded in two of these populations during recent surveys. One isolated population (recorded in 1991 and 

last surveyed in 1996) occurs in the Cooljarloo area (Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Midwest Region, Moora 

District) west of Dandaragan. The other five are all within a 5 km radius of Welshpool and Kewdale in the Perth metropolitan area. The 

species is found in low-lying  winter-wet damp, grey/white sands and grows in open patches with low tree canopy cover among 

heathland, jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and  Allocasuarina/Banksia  woodland at Welshpool and Kewdale; and 

Banksia/Eucalyptus  woodland at the Dandaragan population. Associated species include Kingia australis, Banksia attenuata, 

B. menziesii, Eremaea pauciflora, Nuytsia floribunda, Melaleuca seriata, Patersonia occidentalis and Alexgeorgea nitens in the 

Welshpool/Kewdale area and Banksia menziesii, B. attenuata, Eucalyptus todtiana and Nuytsia floribunda in the Cooljarloo area 

(Brown et al 1998; Keighery 2001; Atkins 2006). 

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Habitat critical to the survival of the species 

includes the area of occupancy of all known populations, areas of similar habitat surrounding known populations (low-

lying winter wet damp sands with Banksia  and  Kingia australis heathland or Banksia  woodland)  that provide potential 

habitat for natural range extension), remnant vegetation that surrounds and links populations (necessary to allow pollinators 

to move between populations), the local catchment area and ground water systems that maintain the damp-land habitat of 

the species,  and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable for future 


Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 

Given that this species is listed as Endangered and is known from just six populations, it is considered that all known 

habitat for wild and any future translocated populations is habitat critical to its survival, and that all wild and any future 

translocated populations are important populations. 

Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security 

of habitat of Macarthuria keigheryi will also protect the threatened flora species Conospermum undulatum (Vulnerable), the 

Priority  species  Haloragis tenuifolia (P3) and three Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC’s) - (Banksia attenuata 

woodland over species-rich dense shrublands Swan Coastal Plain (SCP) community type 20a (Endangered),  Corymbia 

calophylla and  Kingia australis woodlands on heavy soils SCP community type 3a (Critically Endangered) and Corymbia 

calophylla and Eucalyptus marginata woodlands on sandy clay soils SCP community type 3b (Vulnerable). 

International obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on 

Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia’s responsibilities under 

that Convention. Macarthuria keigheryi is not specifically listed under any international treaty, and therefore this plan does 

not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements. 

Role and interests of indigenous people: Involvement of the Indigenous community is being sought through the South 

West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and the Department of Indigenous Affairs to assist in the identification 

of cultural values for land occupied by Macarthuria keigheryi, or groups with a cultural connection to land that is important 

for the species’ conservation and to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the plan.  A search of 

the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register has identified that there are 34 artifact sites in the 

vicinity of populations of the species covered by this IRP.  Where no role is identified for the indigenous community 

associated with this species in the development of the recovery plan, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation 

and awareness of the species.  Indigenous involvement in the implementation of recovery actions will be encouraged. 

Continued liaison between DEC and the indigenous community will identify areas in which collaboration will assist 

implementation of recovery actions. 

Social and economic impact: One population of Macarthuria keigheryi occurs on Commonwealth airport land and 

negotiations will continue with the current land managers in regards to the future management of this population. The Midwest 

population occurs within an area subject to a mining exploration lease. In this regard, the implementation of this IRP has the 

potential to have some social and economic impact. Recovery actions include continued liaison between stakeholders with regard 

to these areas. 

Affected interests: Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include Westralia Airports 

Corporation, Tiwest, Empire Oil and Gas, WA Planning Commission, Shires of Swan, Kalamunda and Dandaragan, Cities 

of Belmont and Canning, Conservation Commission and DEC. 

Evaluation of the plan’s performance: DEC will evaluate the performance of this IRP in conjunction with the Moora 

District and Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Teams. In addition to annual reporting on progress 

with listed actions and comparison against the criteria for success and failure, the plan is to be reviewed within five years of 

its implementation. 

Completed Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been completed: 

1.   Relevant land managers have been notified of the presence and threatened status of Macarthuria keigheryi

2.   A survey conducted by staff from the former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) located a sixth 

population in a ‘Bush Forever’ site. 

3.   Numerous surveys have been conducted in areas of suitable habitat in the Dandaragan and Welshpool areas by staff 

from DEC. 

4.   A detailed research project on the biology of Macarthuria keigheryi and Conospermum undulatum was conducted by 

the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) in 2005. 

5.   164 plants are currently being maintained in cultivation at BGPA. 

Ongoing and future recovery actions 

6.   Staff from DEC’s Moora and Swan Coastal Districts regularly monitor all populations of this species. 

7.   The Moora District Threatened Flora and Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Teams are 

overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in an annual report to DEC's 

Corporate Executive and funding bodies. 

IRP objective: The objective of this IRP is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance viable in situ populations to 

ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild. 

Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 

Recovery criteria 

Criteria for success: The number of populations has increased and/or number of individuals within populations have 

increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.  

Criteria for failure: The  number of populations has decreased and/or number of individuals within populations have 

decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.  

Recovery actions 


Coordinate recovery actions 


Implement weed control 


Liaise with relevant land managers 


Conduct further surveys 


Increase rabbit control 


Improve security of tenure 


Monitor populations 

10.  Map habitat critical to survival 


Install fencing if required 

11.  Start the translocation process if necessary 


Develop and implement a fire management strategy 

12.  Review this plan and assess the need for further recovery actions 

Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 




The type specimen of Macarthuria keigheryi was collected from the Cataby area in 1989. Surveys conducted in the 

1980's, followed by the 1990-1994 floristic survey of the southern Swan Coastal Plain and the 1992 survey of 

remnant vegetation of the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain failed to find more populations of the species.  A Western 

Australian Herbarium botanist then found 1 plant in the Cataby area (Population 1) in 1991 but a subsequent survey in 

1996 was unsuccessful in relocating the plant. 

During a taxonomic revision of the genus, a 1976 specimen from Kewdale was determined to be Macarthuria keigheryi. 

The former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) discovered the population during the Systems Six reserve 

system review in  1995. Populations 4 and 6 were discovered during a survey conducted by staff from the DEP when 

surveying  'Bush Forever' sites. Both of these populations and a large Midwest population were discovered in areas 

regenerating post-fire, which suggested that Macarthuria keigheryi is fire responsive. 

Macarthuria keigheryi was thought to be rare in 1997 due to clearing of its winter wet swamp habitat for urban 

development and agricultural use. 

Research was conducted on the species for Westralia Airports Corporation by staff from the Botanical Gardens and Parks 

Authority (BGPA). 


Macarthuria keigheryi is a small erect subshrub up to 40 cm tall with hairy, bright yellow to green stems. The leaves are 

present mainly at the base of the stems and on young growth. They are narrowly obovate to elliptic in shape, 2.7 -

11.5 mm long and 0.7 - 3.5 mm broad. The flowers have five sepals that are hairy on the outside. The outer sepals are 

green, the inner are partly white and membranous. The five petals are narrow, dying early. There are eight stamens 

joined at the base. The style is small, divided into three. The seeds are normally round, black, and shiny. 

Macarthuria keigheryi is distinguished by the dense covering of golden hairs on its stems and leaves and the large number 

of flowers (up to 25) in the dense headed inflorescence. Flowering occurs from September to December and from 

February to March. Two other species of Macarthuria (M. australis and M. apetala) grow with M. keigheryi but neither 

have hairy stems (Lepschi 1996). 

Distribution and habitat 

Macarthuria keigheryi is currently known from six populations over a range of approximately 160 km. However, plants 

have not been recorded in two of these populations during recent surveys. One isolated population (Population 1) which 

was recorded as having extant plants in 1996 and then rediscovered in 2006 with over 10,000 plants, occurs west of 

Dandaragan (Greg Woodman pers. comm.), while the other five are within a 5 km radius at Welshpool and Kewdale, 

south-east of Perth. Approximately 10,070 plants are currently known with less than 1% of the total population occurring 

within the Swan Coastal Plain. The Perth populations occur on a number of different of land tenures with two (Populations 

4 and 6) on land managed by the Department for Planning and Infrastructure (DPI). Long term plans for a road reserve 

are a threat to both of these populations. 

Macarthuria keigheryi prefers low-lying, winter wet, damp grey/white sands, and at Welshpool and Kewdale it grows in 

open patches with low tree canopy cover among heathland and jarrah-Banksia woodland. It grows with Kingia australis, 

Banksia attenuata, B. menziesii, Eremophila pauciflora, Nuytsia floribunda, Melaleuca seriata, Patersonia occidentalis 

and Alexgeorgea nitens. At the Cooljarloo population, west of Dandaragan, it grows in Banksia woodland with Banksia 

menziesii, B. attenuata, Eucalyptus todtiana, Nuytsia floribunda and other wetland species (Brown et al 1998; Keighery 

2001; Atkins 2004). 

Macarthuria keigheryi is known from four Bush Forever sites: Tomah Road Bushland, Wattle Grove (283), Dundas Road 

Bushland, Forrestdale (319), Perth Airport and Adjacent Bushland (386) and McDowell St Bushland, Welshpool (424) and, 

as such, is warranted some protection under this scheme (Department of Environmental Protection 2000). 

Recovery Plan for Macarthuria keigheryi 

Summary of population land vesting, purpose and tenure 

Pop. No. & Location 

DEC District 





1.  Cooljarloo, west 

of Dandaragan 



Unvested Crown Land 

Unvested Crown 


State of WA; Tiwest 

and Empire Oil and 


1b.  Cooljarloo, west 

of  Dandaragan 



Unvested Crown Land 

Unvested Crown 


State of WA; Tiwest 

and Empire Oil and 


2.  Kewdale 

Swan Coastal 





3a.  Forrestfield 

Swan Coastal 



Commission of Western 


Conservation of 

Flora and Fauna 

(Nature Reserve) 


3b.  Forrestfield 

Swan Coastal 



Commission of Western 


Conservation of 

Flora and Fauna 

(Nature Reserve) 


4.  Queens Park 

Swan Coastal 



Conservation Park 


5a.  Perth Airport 

Swan Coastal 


Commonwealth of 



Westralia Airports 

Corporation Pty Ltd 

5b.  Perth Airport 

Swan Coastal 


Commonwealth of 



Westralia Airports 

Corporation Pty Ltd 

5c.  Perth Airport 

Swan Coastal 


Commonwealth of 



Westralia Airports 

Corporation Pty Ltd 

6.  Queens Park 

Swan Coastal 



Conservation Park 


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