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Davies' Waxflower

Current status

[Photo of St Helens' Waxflower by W. E. Brown.]

Listed as Endangered under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and critically endangered under the Federal Act.

Why is it endangered?

Davies' Waxflower (Phebalium daviesii) is endangered because there are less than 40 plants left in the wild and all occur on private land. It is an endemic plant, only found here in Tasmania. Until December 1990 it was presumed extinct as despite searches none had been found in over 100 years! Imagine the excitement when the plant was 'rediscovered' by a fern collector. Unfortunately as well as being limited in numbers there does not appear to be much sign of seedlings or regeneration.

Where it is found?

Davies' waxflower is a woody shrub which grows about 2-2.5m high and has pretty white flowers. It was first described in 1805 and later named after its collector, R. Davies (Davies' waxflower).

Past collections were all from Constable Creek. In 1990 new plants were discovered in a different locality, this time on George River, in NE Tasmania. Initially five plants were found, 20 m apart and all mature. Since then more plants have been found from the same area, two of which are seedlings. It has been proposed to call this flower St Helens' waxflower after the area in which it now occurs.

What's being done?

A recovery plan setting out the action required was undertaken first. At this stage it was only believed there were five plants. Since then the Tasmanian Royal Botanical Gardens have propogated specimens from all mature plants so we now have a collection of the entire genetic base for Davies' waxflower. They have an endangered species outreach program in schools which allow seeds to be collected and planted. A large number of plants were replanted. They also have a list of all the P. daviesii grown privately from their collection so that they can use the plant material if necessary in the future. In 2001, a single plant was found several kilometres upstream from the main population.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading

Lynch A.J.J. and M.W.A. Appleby 1996. Phebalium daviesii Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase. Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania