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111

R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)



Nuytsia

                                                   

The journal of the Western Australian Herbarium

26: 111–125 

Published online  3 November 2015

© Department of Parks and Wildlife 2015 

 

 

 



        ISSN 2200-2790 (Online)

http://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/nuytsia/

ISSN 0085-4417 (Print)

Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae) from the 

Kimberley region of Western Australia

Russell L. Barrett

1,2,3,5,6

, Stephen D. Hopper

4

, Terry D. Macfarlane

2

 and Matthew D. Barrett

1,2,3

¹Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, Western Australia 6005

2

Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Parks and Wildlife, 



Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983

3

School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009



4

Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management and School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 

Albany, Western Australia 6330

5

Current address: Australian National Herbarium, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, National Research 



Collections Australia, CSIRO, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

6

Corresponding author, email: russell.barrett@csiro.au



Abstract

Barrett, R.L., Hopper, S.D., Macfarlane, T.D. and Barrett, M.D. Seven new species of Haemodorum 

(Haemodoraceae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Nuytsia 26: 111–125 (2015). 

Haemodorum basalticum R.L.Barrett, Hopper & T.Macfarlane, H. capitatum R.L.Barrett & Hopper, 

H. condensatum Hopper & R.L.Barrett, H. griseofuscum R.L.Barrett, M.D.Barrett & Hopper, H. interrex 

R.L.Barrett & M.D.Barrett, H. macfarlanei R.L.Barrett and H. thedae R.L.Barrett are described as 

new species. Haemodorum basalticum and H. macfarlanei are restricted to the Mitchell Plateau, 

H. capitatum is restricted to pindan sands in the Dampier Botanical District, H. condensatum is known 

from a small area in the remote Prince Regent National Park, H. griseofuscum is only known from a 

single location on Doongan Station in Western Australia, although possibly also occurs in the Northern 

Territory, H. interrex is restricted to the area around the headwaters of the Prince Regent River, and 



H. thedae is only known from Theda Station. A key is presented to all species known to occur in the 

Kimberley region, and H. subvirens F.Muell. and H. coccineum R.Br. are newly recorded for the region.



Introduction

Seven new species of Haemodorum Sm. from northern Australia are described for the Kimberley 

region of Western Australia. Haemodorum basalticum R.L.Barrett, Hopper & T.Macfarlane was 

recognised as H. sp. A by Wheeler (1992) and is formally described here, along with H. macfarlanei 

R.L.Barrett and H. thedae R.L.Barrett, all endemic to basalt soils between the Mitchell Plateau and 

Theda Station. Haemodorum capitatum R.L.Barrett & Hopper is named from pindan sands around 

the Dampier Peninsula. Haemodorum condensatum Hopper & R.L.Barrett and H. interrex R.L.Barrett 

& M.D.Barrett are based on a small number of collections from the Prince Regent River area. 



Haemodorum griseofuscum R.L.Barrett, M.D.Barrett & Hopper is only known from a single location 

on Doongan Station in the north-west Kimberley. The genus has previously been reviewed for Australia 

by Macfarlane (1987), with 20 species recognised and for the Kimberley region by Wheeler (1992) 

who recognised five species in the region. However, both studies had limited material available and 

no opportunity for fieldwork in the Kimberley region. 


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Nuytsia Vol. 26 (2015)

Monographic studies by S.D. Hopper and colleagues have resulted in the resurrection (see APNI 

2015) of H. subvirens F.Muell. described by Mueller (1858) and H. flavescens W.Fitzg. described by 

Fitzgerald (1918). Haemodorum subvirens is a new record for the Kimberley region (K.F. Kenneally 

10993, PERTH and A.C. Beauglehole ACB 54058, MEL, PERTH), as is H. coccineum R.Br., which 

has been collected on El Questro Station (G. Byrne 3453, PERTH). Additional new species await 

description from the Northern Territory and Queensland. Further studies are particularly needed in 

the H. flaviflorum W.Fitzg., H. gracile T.Macfarlane and H. parviflorum Benth. species complexes 

in Western Australia, as it is likely that additional taxa should be recognised in each of these. There 

is a need for further research and collection of Haemodorum in the Kimberley before an adequate 

understanding of the genus is available.

The present paper highlights the Kimberley region of Western Australia as a major centre of diversity 

for Haemodorum, with 14 species now recognised there, almost half the species in the genus. At least 

seven of these are considered to be endemic to the Kimberley region, the remainder also occurring in 

the Northern Territory, and some extending to northern Queensland. Most tropical Haemodorum species 

flower early in the wet season when access is difficult and environmental conditions are challenging, 

limiting collection of good specimens. Targeted collections should be made at this time of year to 

assess regional variation in the more difficult species complexes. Geophytic species often respond 

quickly to breaking rains in tropical Australia and their diversity appears to have been overlooked in 

this region. Haemodorum is now the most species-rich geophyte genus known in the Kimberley region.



Methods

Descriptions and illustrations are based on herbarium material. All new species described here have 

been examined in the field by at least the first author.

Key to Kimberley Haemodorum species

Note: Two species are keyed both ways at step 3 due to the degree to which some leaves are flattened and extremes 

of width. Most specimens will readily key either way.

1.   Inflorescence 5–10 cm tall, a compact raceme, much shorter than the leaves...........................................2

1:   Inflorescence (40–)60–175 cm tall, racemose, corymbose or paniculate, exceeding the 

leaves .........................................................................................................................................................3



2.   Leaves terete to subterete; flowers blackish red; inflorescence dense .................................. H. brevicaule

2:   Leaves narrowly elliptic in transverse section and finely ribbed; flowers grey-brown; 

inflorescence not dense .................................................................................................... H. griseofuscum



3.   Leaves ±flat in transverse section, (0.9–)1.8–8 mm wide..........................................................................4

3:   Leaves terete to subterete, usually 0.6–1.2 mm wide (rarely to 2.5 mm wide in 

H. condensatum) ......................................................................................................................................12

4.   Flowers yellowish green; leaves very bright green ............................................................... H. subvirens

4:   Flowers brown, orange or red; leaves dark green to dull bluish green ......................................................5

5.   Inflorescence with terminal flower clusters 1–few, capitate; leaves 0.9–2.5 mm wide ........ H. capitatum

5:   Inflorescence an open panicle of well-spaced flowers, or when dense, a raceme, 

±flat-topped corymb or series of corymbs; leaves (1–)1.8–8 mm wide ....................................................6



6.   Flowers yellow-orange to dull orange; inflorescence an open corymb ............................... H. basalticum

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R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)



6:   Flowers bright orange-red to red to brown or aging to reddish (but bright 

orange-yellow to reddish in H. macfarlanei); inflorescence a dense 

corymb, open panicle or compound raceme. .............................................................................................7

7.   Leaves flat or subterete, 1–3.3 mm wide; inflorescence a raceme or 

compound raceme; flowers yellow to bright orange-red to red .................................................................8



7:   Leaves flat, 4–8 mm wide; inflorescence a dense corymb or open panicle; 

flowers dull red to orange-red to brown, red-brown or bright red ...........................................................10



8.   Leaves flat to subterete; flowers pale yellow when fresh, maturing red, 

densely packed on the inflorescence ................................................................................ H. condensatum



8:   Leaves flat; flowers bright orange to red when fresh, maintaining colour 

or becoming darker with age, well-spaced on the inflorescence ...............................................................9



9.   Leaves 0.6–0.8(–1.1) mm wide; flowers 4–5.5 mm long, bright yellow- 

orange to reddish, with a pair of subtending bracteoles .................................................... H. macfarlanei



9:   Leaves (1.6–)1.8–3.3 mm wide; flowers 5.2–7.1 mm long, brilliant orange- 

red to dark red, with a single subtending bracteole .................................................................... H. thedae



10.   All flowers well-spaced along inflorescence branches; flowers dull red 

to orange-red to brown, often with dull green basal parts ....................................................H. ensifolium



10:   Flowers in close terminal clusters (dense panicle) on well-spaced 

inflorescence branches; flowers bright red to dark red-brown ................................................................. 11



11.   Flowers bright red; anthers 2.0–2.4(–3.7 in Queensland) mm long .....................................H. coccineum

11:   Flowers dark red-brown; anthers 2.6–3.5 mm long .................................................................. H. interrex

12.   Leaves flat or subterete, 1–2.5 mm wide; flowers pale yellow when fresh, 

maturing red, densely packed on the inflorescence ......................................................... H. condensatum



12:   Leaves ±terete (or flat to subterete in H. macfarlanei, but fresh flowers 

orange to red), 0.6–1(–1.2) mm wide; flowers yellow, greenish, orange 

or red, uniform in colour or darkening only slightly with maturity, 

well-spaced on inflorescence ...................................................................................................................13



13.   Flowers greenish yellow or yellow; inflorescence racemose ..................................... H. flaviflorum s. lat.

13:   Flowers orange to red; inflorescence paniculate or few-branched and 

racemose ..................................................................................................................................................14



14.   Inflorescence a flat-topped panicle; flowers red ......................................................................... H. gracile

14:   Inflorescence racemose, occasionally compound; flowers orange or red ................................................15

15.   Flowers yellow-orange to reddish; inflorescence (1–)3–5-branched; 

on basalt ............................................................................................................................. H. macfarlanei



15:   Flowers red; inflorescence not or 1-branched; on sandstone ................... H. parviflorum (WA syntype)*

*One of the syntypes of H. parviflorum is a Cunningham collection from Western Australia. It is not considered 

conspecific with the Northern Territory syntypes, but typification of the name is required to establish its correct 

application.



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Taxonomy

Haemodorum basalticum R.L.Barrett, Hopper & T.Macfarlane, sp. nov.

Type: Mitchell Plateau, Western Australia [precise locality withheld for conservation reasons], 25 January 

2010, R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 6444 (holo: PERTH 08614334; iso: BRI, CANB, DNA, NSW).



Haemodorum sp. A, J.R. Wheeler in J.R. Wheeler (ed.), Fl. Kimberley Reg., pp. 1014–1015, Figure 

304E (1992).



Haemodorum sp. A Kimberley Flora (K.F. Kenneally 8639), Western Australian Herbarium, in 

FloraBase, http://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/ [accessed 17 April 2014].

Illustration. J.R. Wheeler in J.R. Wheeler (ed.), Fl. Kimberley Reg., p. 1013, Figure 304E (1992) [as 

Haemodorum sp. A].

Geophyte, 70–120 cm tall, with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 10–15 cm below soil surface, 

dark red. Basal leaves 2 or 3; lamina dark green, flat, 330–650 mm long, 2.2–4.3 mm wide. Inflorescence 

loosely corymbose, branching portion 150–570 mm long, with flowers clustered on short, slender axes 

for 5–15 mm, 3–9 flowers per unit, the flowers and bracteoles yellow-orange to dull orange. Bracteoles 

1 in lower third to half of axis, 1 sessile or up to 0.9 mm below flower, narrowly ovate to elliptic, thin 

but not scarious, 1.6–2.5 mm long, only medial vein apparent, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles 

acute, extending up to one quarter of the flower length. Flowers 4.2–5.9 mm long; pedicel 2.0–5.0 mm 

long. Sepals narrowly triangular, obtuse, 3.6–5.2 mm long, slightly shorter than the petals. Petals linear, 

obtuse, 4.3–5.8 mm long. Stamens equal, level or slightly emergent from petals at anthesis by 0.6 mm; 

filaments 2.4–3.3 mm long, partially enclosed by petals when dry; anthers yellow-orange to almost 

white at anthesis, erect and held vertically, 1.6–1.9 mm long. Style at anthesis pale with darker apex, 

4.3–4.8 mm long, emergent 0.3–0.6 mm from petals. Fruits chocolate brown to black, 3.7–5.7 mm 

long, 5.5–9.4 mm wide. Seeds black, circular in outline; body broadly ovate in outline, c. 2 mm wide; 

wing 0.5–1.2 mm wide. (Figure 1)



Diagnostic charactersLeaves flat, 2.2–4.3 mm wide. Inflorescence loosely corymbose, flowers clustered 

on short, slender axes for 5–15 mm. Flowers yellow-orange to dull orange. Habitat on basalt soils.



Specimens examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [localities withheld for conservation reasons] 23 Apr. 

1977, H. Eichler 22452 (CANB, DNA); 17 May 1978, K.F. Kenneally 6656 (MEL, PERTH); 7 Feb. 

1979, K.F. Kenneally 7062 (CANB, CNS, DNA, PERTH); 6 Dec. 1982, K.F. Kenneally 8639 (CANB, 

CNS, PERTH).



Phenology. Flowering and fruiting recorded from December to February.

Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the north Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is known only 

from basalt soils over laterite or massive basalt sheets in the Mitchell Plateau to Theda Station area. 

Occurs in eucalypt woodland with Terminalia fitzgeraldii and Livistona eastonii as associated species. 

Conservation statusHaemodorum basalticum is to be listed as Priority Two under Department of Parks 

and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (A. Jones pers. comm.). Of restricted 

distribution on the Mitchell Plateau; probably more common in the area than collections suggest, but 

poorly known.



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Etymology. Derived from the basalt substrate on which this species grows.

Notes. This is one of four species in the region known to occur on basaltic soils, the other three being 

H. gracileH. macfarlanei and H. thedae. Most species are restricted to sandy soils. It is similar to 

H. flaviflorum in flower form, but is more like H. ensifolium in inflorescence structure, differing from 

both in having yellow-orange to orange flowers.



Haemodorum basalticum was first discovered by K.F. Kenneally in 1979, but it was not recognised 

as a distinct species until the treatment of Wheeler (1992). Recent collections have enabled it to be 

formally described here.

Haemodorum capitatum R.L.Barrett & Hopper, sp. nov.

Type: [north-east of Broome,] Western Australia [precise locality withheld for conservation reasons], 

26 November 2013, R.L. Barrett & C. Bennison RLB 8315 (holo: PERTH 08614385; iso: BM, BRI, 

CANB, DNA, K, MEL, NSW).

Geophyte, 60–90 cm tall, with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 15–23 cm below soil surface, 

dark red. Basal leaves 1–3; lamina dark green, flat, 40–60 cm long, 0.9–2.5 mm wide. Scape to 90 cm 

tall, bracts broad, green, 25–62 mm long, 2.5–5.0 mm wide. Inflorescence very compact, flowering 

portion 45–180 mm long, forming a tight cluster of 1–few capitate heads on peduncles 3–17 mm 

long, flowers arranged very close together along the slender axes for 3–8 mm, 8–41 flowers per 

unit, the flowers and bracteoles maroon or dark red to scarlet. Bracteoles narrowly ovate to elliptic, 

thin but not scarious, 2.1–9.5 mm long, the 3 or 5 veins obscure abaxially, margins undifferentiated; 

upper bracteoles acute, extending up to half of the flower length. Flowers

 

3.1–4.3 mm long; pedicel 



0.5–1 mm long (extending up to 4 mm long in fruit). Sepals narrowly triangular, obtuse, 3.7–4.2 mm 

long, slightly shorter than the petals. Petals linear to narrowly triangular, obtuse to acute, 4.5–5.2 mm 

long. Stamens equal, slightly emergent from petals at anthesis by 1 mm; filaments 1.8–2.7 mm long, 

enclosed by petals when dry; anthers pale yellow to orange-yellow at anthesis, erect and held vertically

shortly exserted from petals, c. 2 mm long. Style at anthesis red with maroon apex, entire or shortly 

bifid, 4.1–4.7 mm long, equal to or emergent to 0.7 mm from petals. Fruits dark chocolate brown, 

6–7

 

mm long, 7–10 mm wide. Seeds not seen.



 

(Figure 2)

Figure 1. Haemodorum basalticum. A – flat leaves; B – yellow-orange flowers and developing red-brown fruits in the loosely 

corymbose inflorescence; C – close-up of flowers at apex of inflorescence. Images from R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 6444. 

Photographs by R.L. Barrett.

A

B

C


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Diagnostic charactersLeaves flat, 0.9–2.5 mm wide. Inflorescence a compact cluster of capitate 

heads. Flowers maroon or dark red to scarlet, sepal and petal apices obtuse.



Specimens examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [localities withheld for conservation reasons] 22 Aug. 

1985, K.F. Kenneally 9477 (CANB, PERTH); 24 Aug. 1985, K.F. Kenneally 9492 (NSW, PERTH); 

18 Nov. 1984, T. Willing 155 (PERTH).

Phenology. Flowering recorded for August and November.

Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the south-west Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is known 

only from low depressions on pindan sand plains on grey and white sands. Associated species include 



Corymbia polycarpaCrotalaria crispataEucalyptus tectifica, Melaleuca acacioidesTerminalia 

canescens and Verticordia verticillata.

Conservation statusHaemodorum capitatum is to be listed as Priority One under Department of Parks 

and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (A. Jones pers. comm.). Currently only 

known from four locations and not known from any conservation reserves.

Etymology. The epithet is from the Latin capitus (head) in reference to the very compact, head-like 

inflorescence structure.



Notes. The relationships of this distinctive species probably lie with H. gracile, which also has small 

red flowers with obtuse sepal and petal apices. The flat leaves and broad inflorescence bracts bear 

Figure 2. Haemodorum capitatum. A – habit; B – excavated bulbs; C – leaf and inflorescence bases; D – budding inflorescences 

and inflorescence bracts; E – compact inflorescence; F – flowers. Images from R.L. Barrett & C. Bennison RLB 8315. Photographs 

by R.L. Barrett.

A

B

C

D

E

F


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R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)

some resemblance to H. coccineum, but that species has broader leaves and much larger flowers which 

have acute sepal and petal apices.



Haemodorum capitatum was first collected by T. Willing in 1984 and recognised as a distinct species 

by R.L. Barrett while conducting fieldwork supported by Buru Energy in 2013.

Further studies of H. gracile s. lat. are required, as the type collection is from basalt soils on the 

Mitchell Plateau, while all other collections are from sandstone habitats much further south.



Haemodorum condensatum Hopper & R.L.Barrett, sp. nov.

Type: north of Bachsten Creek Falls, Prince Regent Nature Reserve [National Park], Western Australia 

[precise locality withheld for conservation reasons], 18 January 2010, R.L. Barrett, M. Maier  



P. Kendrick RLB 6239 (holo: PERTH 08614628; iso: BRI, CANB, DNA, K, MEL).

Haemodorum sp. Gardner Plateau (R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 1008), Western Australian 

Herbarium, in FloraBase, http://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/ [accessed 17 April 2014].



Geophyte, 50–75 cm tall, with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 7–8 cm below soil surface, 

scarlet. Basal leaves 4 or 5; lamina dark green, flat or subterete, to 30–60 cm long, 1–2.5 mm wide. 



Inflorescence a dense raceme or few-branched panicle with the ultimate branches racemose, 160–180 mm 

long, and single flowers distributed evenly along the slender axes for 25–65 mm, 14–36 flowers per 

unit, the flowers and bracteoles yellow when fresh, aging blackish red. Bracteoles acute, thin but 

not scarious, 2–3 mm long, the 3 veins obscure abaxially, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles 

acute, extending up to half of the flower length. Flowers 4–5 mm long; pedicel 1–2 mm. Sepals linear, 

acute, 3–3.5 mm, as long as petals. Petals linear, obtuse, 3–3.5 mm long. Stamens equal, level with 

to slightly emergent from petals at anthesis by c. 0.2 mm; filaments c. 1.5 mm long; anthers erect and 

held vertically, not prominently exserted from petals, 1.2–1.3 mm long. Style at anthesis 4.5–5 mm 

long, emergent 1–1.5 mm from petals. Fruits dark chocolate brown, 4–6 mm long, 6–9 mm wide. 

Immature seeds black, circular in outline; body broadly ovate in outlinec. 2.1 mm wide; wing not 

formed on immature seeds. (Figure 3)

Diagnostic charactersLeaves flat to subterete, 1–2.5 mm wide. Inflorescence with many flowers 

condensed in a tight raceme 25–65 mm long. Flowers yellow, aging blackish red.



Specimen examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [locality withheld for conservation reasons] 4 Dec. 

1994, R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 1008 (CANB, PERTH).



Phenology. Recorded for early December at the onset of the wet season and in late flower in mid-

January. The first collection was from habitat that was not burnt the previous season.



Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the north Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is known 

only from two populations about 12 km apart in the southern Prince Regent National Park. Grows in 

open Corymbia latifolia woodland over Triodia bitextura on extensive sandstone flats below sandstone 

ridges. Associated species include Calochilus caesiusHaemodorum brevicauleH. gracileMurdannia 



gramineaSorghum plumosumTacca maculata and Terminalia ferdinandiana.

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Conservation statusHaemodorum condensatum is listed by Jones (2014) as Priority Two under 

Department of Parks and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora, under the name 



Haemodorum sp. Gardner Plateau (R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 1008).

Etymology. Named from the Latin condensatus, alluding to the condensed racemose inflorescences 

compared to those of H. flaviflorum, which have more widely-spaced flowers.



NotesHaemodorum condensatum is a rare and poorly known species of the Kimberley. It is most 

similar to H. flaviflorum, from which it differs in its compressed leaves, its many flowers condensed 

in a tight raceme 25–65 mm long, and its flowers which age blackish red. Haemodorum flaviflorum 

was treated as H. parviflorum by Wheeler (1992) but the latter is a Northern Territory endemic.



Haemodorum condensatum was discovered by R.L. and M.D. Barrett while hiking near Bachsten 

Creek in 1994, then not relocated until targeted surveys were made nearby in 2010 by R.L. Barrett, 

M. Maier and P. Kendrick.

Haemodorum griseofuscum R.L.Barrett, M.D.Barrett & Hopper, sp. nov.

Type: cultivated: [at] Kings Park [and Botanic Garden, Perth, from material collected on Doongan 

Station], Western Australia [precise locality withheld for conservation reasons], 17 February 2013, 



M.D. Barrett MDB 4002 (holo: PERTH 08614350; iso: DNA).

Geophyte, 40–60 cm tall, with inflorescences greatly exceeded by leaves; bulb 6–10 cm below soil 

surface, dark red. Basal leaves 5–10; lamina dark green, compressed-ovoid in TS, finely ribbed, 

30–60 cm long, (0.7–)1.0–2.2 mm wide (to 3.5 mm wide when fresh). Inflorescence very compact, an 

unbranched or once-branched raceme, 30–40 mm long, flowers distributed very close together along 

the robust axes for 15–20 mm, 14–18 flowers per inflorescence, the flowers and bracteoles grey-brown, 

tepals with dark brown to black apices. Bracteoles linear to narrowly elliptic, thin but not scarious, 



c. 6 mm long, the 3 veins obscure abaxially, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles acute, extending 

up to half of the flower length. Flowers 5–8 mm long, sessile above a pair of bracteoles with a pedicel 

1.6–2.3 mm long below the bract. Sepals narrowly ovate, obtuse, 3.1–4.5 mm long, c. 1.5 mm shorter 

than the petals. Petals linear to narrowly oblong, obtuse, 4.5–7.0 mm long. Stamens equal, included 

within petals at anthesis; filaments 3.5–4.0 mm long, enclosed by petals when dry; anthers yellow-

orange at anthesis, erect and held vertically, shorter than petals, c. 1.1 mm long. Style at anthesis red, 

4.0–4.5 mm long, included by c. 0.8 mm from petals. Fruits not seen. Seeds not seen. (Figure 4)

Figure 3. Haemodorum condensatum. A – habitat at type location; B – habit; C – few-branched panicle with dense flowers and 

fruits. Images from R.L. Barrett, M. Maier & P. Kendrick RLB 6239. Photographs by R.L. Barrett.

A

B

C


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Diagnostic charactersLeaves compressed, finely ribbed, (0.7–)1.0–2.2 mm wide when dry. Inflorescence 

very much shorter than the leaves, compact, forming a very dense raceme 30–40 mm long. Flowers 

grey-brown with dark brown to black apices, 5–8 mm long, sepal and petal apices obtuse.

Specimen examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [locality withheld for conservation reasons] 17 May 

2011, R.L. Barrett RLB 7233 (PERTH).



Phenology. Flowering not known in the field in Western Australia; cultivated material flowered in 

February. 



Distribution and habitat. Possibly endemic to the north-west Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is 

known only from sand in Eucalyptus miniata and E. tetrodonta woodland, growing with Arthrostylis aff. 



aphyllaCommelina cyaneaGoodenia sp., Minuria macrorhizaMitrasacme kenneallyiPolycarpaea 

corymbosaStemodia lythrifolia and Vigna sp. 

Conservation status. Haemodorum griseofuscum is to be listed as Priority One under Department of 

Parks and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (A. Jones pers. comm.). 



Etymology. The epithet is derived from the Latin griseus (grey) and fuscus (brown), in reference to 

the distinctive flower colour in this species.

Figure 4. Haemodorum griseofuscum. A – habitat at type’s original location; B – leaf bases; C – leaf bases and inflorescences; 

D – compact racemose inflorescence; E – partially dissected flower; F – tepals, staminal filament and old anther. Images from 



R.L. Barrett RLB 7233 (A) and M.D. Barrett MDB 4002 (B–F). Photographs by R.L. Barrett (A); M.D. Barrett (B–F).

A

B

C

D

E

F

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Nuytsia Vol. 26 (2015)

Notes. The relationships of this distinctive species probably lie with H. brevicaule F.Muell., which 

also has a very short, almost sessile, but much more condensed and cylindrical inflorescence. The 

inflorescence and flowers of H. griseofuscum are larger, and the flowers are grey-brown with dark 

apices rather than entirely reddish black.



Haemodorum griseofuscum was discovered as sterile plants by R.L. Barrett during flora and fauna 

surveys coordinated by C. Myers on Doongan and Theda Stations in 2011. Live plants were collected 

which were cultivated, and subsequently flowered, at Kings Park.

There are somewhat similar collections to the Western Australian material from south-west of Darwin 

in the Northern Territory (S.T. Blake 16529, BRI; G. Leach et al. 4651, DNA), but further work is 

required to determine whether these collections belong to H. griseofuscum or represent a distinct 

species. Both of these Northern Territory specimens were collected in late November and were in fruit 

at that time. Habitat was similar to H. griseofuscum and populations occurred in sandy, pale brown 

loam and laterite in a Eucalyptus miniata and E. tetrodonta woodland with Acacia latescens, Cycas 

armstrongii and Livistona humilis.

Haemodorum interrex R.L.Barrett & M.D.Barrett, sp. nov.

Type: north-north-west of Mount Agnes, West Kimberley, Western Australia [precise locality withheld 

for conservation reasons], 9 January 2001, M.D. Barrett MDB 1185 (holo: PERTH 07977611; iso

CANB, DNA, K).

Haemodorum sp. Prince Regent River (M.D. Barrett MDB 1185), Western Australian Herbarium, in 

FloraBase, http://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/ [accessed 17 April 2014].

Geophyte, 80–120 cm tall, with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 4–5 cm below soil surface, 

scarlet. Basal leaves 4 or 5; lamina dull green to bluish green, ±glaucous, flat, 17–60 cm long, 4.5–

8.1 mm wide. Inflorescence a few-branched panicle with the ultimate branches forming dense corymbs, 

90–280 mm long, flowers crowded at the apex of moderately thick axes for 5–10 mm, 4–13 flowers per 

unit, the flowers and bracteoles dark red-brown. Bracteoles acute, relatively thick, not scarious, 5–8 mm 

long, the 1–5 veins obscure abaxially, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles acute, extending up 

to one quarter of the flower length. Flowers 5.5–8.0 mm long; pedicel 1.1–2.8 mm. Sepals lanceolate 

to narrowly ovate, acute, 4.5–5.5 mm, shorter than petals. Petals linear to oblanceolate, acute or 

obtuse, 5.3–6.3 mm long, enlarged up to 7.5 mm in fruit. Stamens equal, level with petals at anthesis; 

filaments 2.3–2.5 mm long; anthers erect and held vertically, not prominently exserted from petals, 

2.6–3.5 mm long. Style at anthesis 3.8–5.2 mm long, emergent 0.5–1.8 mm from petals.

 

Fruits dark 

chocolate brown to black, 6.0–7.5 mm long, 5.7–10.7 mm wide, often only 1 or 2 carpels maturing. 



Seeds black-brown, ±circular in outline; body ovate in outline, 5.7–5.9 mm long, 3.5–3.7 mm wide; 

wing c. 0.8 mm wide. (Figure 5)



Diagnostic charactersLeaves flat, 4.5–8.1 mm wide. Inflorescence paniculate but with flowers in 

crowded clusters. Flowers dark red-brown, sepal and petal apices obtuse.



Specimens examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [localities withheld for conservation reasons] 29 Jan. 

2000, M.D. Barrett MDB 951 (CANB, DNA, K, PERTH); 2 Feb. 2000, M.D. Barrett MDB 1032 

(CANB, DNA, K, PERTH); 12 Jan. 2001, R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 1770 (CANB, PERTH); 


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R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)

19 Jan. 2003, R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 2588 (CANB, PERTH); 22 Apr. 2008, R.L. Barrett 

& M.D. Barrett RLB 4542 (PERTH); 13 June 1921, C.A. Gardner 874 (PERTH).

Phenology. Flowers and fruit recorded for January; probably fertile from December to March.

Distribution and habitat.  Haemodorum interrex is only known from three populations near the 

headwaters of the Prince Regent River (all outside Prince Regent National Park) where it grows in 

open woodland on shallow sand over sandstone.

Conservation statusHaemodorum interrex is listed by Jones (2014) as Priority One under Department 

of Parks and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora, under the name Haemodorum 

sp. Prince Regent River (M.D. Barrett MDB 1185). All known populations are small and the total 

known range is only 20 km across. The species is possibly sensitive to frequent fires.



Etymology. The epithet is from the Latin interrex (a regent, temporary king), in reference to the location 

of this species in the Prince Regent River area.



Notes. First collected by C.A. Gardner on the W. Easton Expedition in 1921 (Gardner 1923), H. interrex 

was rediscovered and first recognised as a new species by M.D. Barrett during surveys of the remote 

Prince Regent River area in 1999. It appears to be most closely related to H. subvirens, differing in 

the dull green to bluish green leaves and red-brown flowers (leaves bright green and flowers yellowish 

green in H. subvirens).

Figure 5. Haemodorum interrex. A – habit; B – habitat; C – few-branched paniculate infructescence; D – few-branched paniculate 

inflorescence; E – flowers in compact, corymbose clusters. Images from R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 4542 (A–C) and 

M.D. Barrett MDB 1185 (D, E). Scale bars = 1 cm. Photographs by R.L. Barrett.

A

B

C

D

E


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Haemodorum macfarlanei R.L.Barrett, sp. nov.

Type: Mitchell Plateau, North Kimberley, Western Australia [precise locality withheld for conservation 

reasons], 7 December 1982, K.F. Kenneally 8661 (holo: PERTH 03079392; iso: CANB 534407).



Geophyte, 30–65 cm tall, with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 4–5 cm below soil surface, 

dark red. Basal leaves 5–10; lamina dark green, flat or occasionally almost subterete, 25–65 cm long, 

0.6–0.8(–1.1) mm wide. Inflorescence a 1–5-branched compound raceme, the ultimate branches racemose, 

90–250 mm long, with single flowers well-spaced at the base, becoming crowded at the apex of the 

slender axes for 40–80 mm, 7–18 flowers per unit, the flowers and bracteoles bright orange-yellow to 

reddish. Bracteoles narrowly ovate to elliptic, thin but not scarious, 2.0–2.6 mm long, the 3–5 veins 

obscure abaxially, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles acute, not overlapping or extending up 

to half of the flower length. Flowers 4–5.5 mm long, sessile above a pair of bracteoles with a pedicel 

1.7–14.6 mm long below the bracteoles. Sepals linear to lanceolate, obtuse to acute, 3.4–4.1 mm 

long, about the same length or slightly shorter than the petals. Petals linear to oblanceolate, obtuse 

to acute, 3.4–4.1 mm long. Stamens equal, shorter than petals at anthesis by 0.5–0.8 mm; filaments 

1.4–2.5 mm long, enclosed by petals when dry; anthers yellow-orange to almost white at anthesis, 

erect and held vertically, shorter than petals, 1.3–1.6 mm long. Style at anthesis pale with dark apex, 

3.5–5.6 mm long, emergent 0.3–1.8 mm from petals. Fruits chocolate brown to black, 5–6 mm long, 

4–9 mm wide. Seeds not seen. (Figure 6)

Diagnostic characters.  Leaves  subterete  to  flat,  0.6–0.8(–1.1)  mm wide. Inflorescence a several-

branched raceme, flowers crowded in upper 40–80 mm. Flowers bright orange-yellow to reddish, 

4–5.5 mm long, sessile above a pair of bracteoles. Habitat on basalt soils.

Specimens examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [localities withheld for conservation reasons] 24 Jan. 

2010, R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 6376 (CANB, DNA, PERTH); 27 May 1991, T. Willing 437 

(PERTH).

Phenology. Flowering recorded for December, January and May.

Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the north Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is known 

only from basalt soils over laterite or massive basalt sheets on the Mitchell Plateau, often in sandy 

loam in runoff areas. Associated species include Acacia paulaBanksia dentataChrysopogon fallax, 

Eucalyptus latifoliaE. tetrodontaLivistona eastonii and Melaleuca nervosa.

Conservation statusHaemodorum macfarlanei is to be listed as Priority Two under Department of Parks 

and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (A. Jones pers. comm.). Of restricted 

distribution, with four populations known over a distance of about 50 km, in an area prospective for 

bauxite mining, but known to occur in the Camp Creek Conservation Reserve.



Etymology. The epithet recognises the work of Terry D. Macfarlane in revisionary work on Haemodorum 

and producing the Flora of Australia account of the genus (Macfarlane 1987).



Notes. One of four species in the region known to occur on basaltic soils, the other three being 

H. basalticumH. gracile and H. thedae. It is like H. flaviflorum in inflorescence form, differing in 

having broader, flat leaves, and is also similar in inflorescence form to H. thedae, but differing in the 

more slender leaves, smaller, yellow-orange flowers and the pair of bracteoles subtending the flower 


123

R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)

(vs 1 bracteole distantly subtending the flower in H. thedae). It is probably most closely related to 

H. basalticum, with which it occurs, but distinguished by a smaller stature and more slender leaves; 

also the inflorescence is a branching raceme rather than an open panicle.



Haemodorum macfarlanei was first discovered by K.F. Kenneally in 1982, but it was not recognised 

as a distinct species until a recent collection was made by R.L. and M.D. Barrett.



Haemodorum thedae R.L.Barrett, sp. nov.

Type: west-north-west of (new) Theda Homestead [Theda Station], North Kimberley, Western Australia 

[precise locality withheld for conservation reasons], 15 February 2005, M.D. Barrett MDB 1527 (holo

PERTH 08044163; iso: BRI, CANB, DNA, K, MEL).

Geophyte, 70–160 cm tall with inflorescences exceeding the leaves; bulb 8–9 cm below soil surface, dark 

red. Basal leaves 3–5; lamina dark green, flat, 48–81 cm long, (1.6–)1.8–3.3 mm wide. Inflorescence 

a compound raceme, 170–260 mm long, with individual flowers distributed evenly along the slender 

axes for 30–50 mm, 7–15(–25) flowers per unit, the flowers and bracteoles brilliant orange-red to dark 

red. Bracteoles narrowly ovate to elliptic, thin but not scarious, 1.5–3 mm long, the 3 veins obscure 

abaxially, margins undifferentiated; upper bracteoles acute, extending up to one third of the flower 

length. Flowers 5.2–7.1 mm long; pedicel 4.7–7.3 mm long. Sepals narrowly triangular, obtuse, 4.9–

5.9 mm long, slightly shorter than the petals. Petals linear, obtuse, 5.2–6.7 mm long. Stamens equal, 

slightly emergent from petals at anthesis by 0.6 mm; filaments 2.6–4.5 mm long, enclosed by petals 

Figure 6. Haemodorum macfarlanei. A – habitat at type location; B – leaves; C – compound racemose inflorescence; D, E – 

racemose inflorescence showing floral bracts; F – racemose infructescence. Images from R.L. Barrett & M.D. Barrett RLB 6376 

(A, F), T. Willing 437 (B–D) and K.F. Kenneally 8661 (E). Scale bars: B =  5 mm; C–F = 1 cm. Photographs by R.L. Barrett.



A

B

C

D

E

F

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Nuytsia Vol. 26 (2015)

when dry; anthers yellow-orange to almost white at anthesis, erect and held vertically, shortly exserted 

from petals, 1.5–1.8 mm long. Style at anthesis white with maroon apex, 4.6–6.1 mm long, emergent 

0.8–1.5 mm from petals. Fruits chocolate brown to black, 5–6 mm long, 8–10 mm wide. Seeds black, 

circular in outline; body broadly ovate in outline, c. 3 mm wide; wing 0.5–1.5 mm wide. (Figure 7)

Diagnostic charactersLeaves flat, (1.6–)1.8–3.3 mm wide. Inflorescence a compound raceme, flowering 

portion 30–50 mm long. Flowers bright orange-red to dark red. Habitat on basalt soils.



Specimens examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA [localities withheld for conservation reasons]: 21 Feb. 

2005, M.D. Barrett MDB 1610 (AD, NSW, PERTH); 26 Aug. 2010, M.D. Barrett & R.L. Barrett 

MDB 3154 (NSW; PERTH).

Phenology. Flowering and fruiting recorded for February and observed to have finished by late March, 

but early flowering observed in August following an unseasonal rainfall event. 



Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the north Kimberley of Western Australia, where it is known 

only from savannah woodland on basalt soils over massive basalt sheets in the Theda Station area. 

Associated species include Corymbia greenianaEucalyptus tectificaLivistona eastoniiHeteropogon 

contortusSorghum plumosumThemeda triandra and Terminalia canescens.

Conservation statusHaemodorum thedae is to be listed as Priority One under Department of Parks 

and Wildlife Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (A. Jones pers. comm.). Of restricted 

distribution with most of the known populations on roadsides or fence lines and thus subject to 

disturbance. 

Figure 7. Haemodorum thedae. A – habit; B – stem bases; C – compound raceme with flowers and fruits; D, E – red flowers; 

F – fruits. Images from M.D. Barrett MDB 1610 (A, B, D) and M.D. Barrett MDB 1527 (C, E, F). Photographs by M.D. Barrett.



A

B

C

D

E

F

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R.L. Barrett et al., Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae)



Etymology. The epithet is derived from Theda Station, on the Kalumburu Road, where this species 

is found. Theda Station was apparently named for Theda, the wife of the founder of the station lease, 

and this species is given a feminine epithet to reflect this.

Notes. This is one of four species in the region known to occur on basaltic soils, the other three being 

H. basalticumH. gracile and H. macfarlanei. Most species are restricted to sandy soils. It is like 

H. flaviflorum in flower form and H. macfarlanei in inflorescence structure, differing from both in 

having broader, flat leaves. The compound raceme, large, orange-red to red flowers and moderately 

broad, flat leaves distinguish this species from all others in the region. Molecular data suggest that 

this species is most closely related to H. basalticum, which has a paniculate inflorescence and yellow-

orange to dull orange flowers (R. Smith & S.D. Hopper in prep.).

Haemodorum thedae was first discovered by M.D. Barrett in 2005 during flora surveys on Theda Station 

Acknowledgements

Preparation of this paper was funded by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority as part of the 50

th

 

anniversary celebrations of the Western Australian Botanic Garden at Kings Park. Aspects of this project 



were facilitated by the Federal Government’s West Kimberley National Heritage assessment. The Myers 

family and Dunkeld Pastoral Company are thanked for permission to access their properties and for 

logistical support that led to the discovery of H. griseofuscum and H. thedae. Buru Energy provided 

support for field studies that led to the recognition of H. capitatum. SDH acknowledges support and 

company in the field of Dr Tony Start, Dr Greg Leach, Bob Harwood, and members of Kings Park 

and Botanic Garden seed collecting expeditions to the Kimberley. Michael Simpson, Barbara Rye and 

the Nuytsia editors are thanked for comments that improved the manuscript.

References

APNI (2015). Australian Plant Name Index, IBIS database. Centre for Biodiversity Research. https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/

services/search [accessed 10 March 2015].

Fitzgerald, W.V. (1918). The botany of the Kimberleys, north-west Australia. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society 



of Western Australia 3: 102–224.

Gardner, C.A. (1923). Botanical notes. Kimberley Division of Western Australia. Forests Department Bulletin 32: 1–106.

Jones, A. (2014). Threatened and Priority Flora list for Western Australia. (Department of Parks and Wildlife: Kensington, 

Western Australia.)

Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Haemodorum.  In: A.S. George (ed.) Flora of Australia 45: 134–148. (Australian Government 

Publishing Service: Canberra.)

Mueller, F. von (1858). Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. Vol. 1. p. 63. (Government Printer: Melbourne.)

Wheeler, J.R. (1992). Haemodoraceae. In: J.R. Wheeler (ed.) Flora of the Kimberley region. pp. 1012–1015. (Department of 



Conservation and Land Management: Perth.)

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