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Bush pea

Current status

[Photo of bush pea by W. E. Brown.]

The bush pea (Pultenea prostrata) is listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. In 1991 it was considered endangered because at that stage there were only two known Tasmanian populations left, both on unreserved land. However many populations have since been found.

Why is it vulnerable?

Tasmania appears to be the edge of the bush pea's ecological range. In other words the mainland habitat better suits this plant which is why it is more abundant there. In Tasmania it lives in grassy or grassy woodland areas. A large population has been found at Campbell Town golf course which was cultivated for planting and this disturbance promoted these low growing plants. Mowing keeps the grass down and reduces the competition on the bush pea from other plants.

It has now been recorded from the Midlands, extending from Brighton through to Launceston and a few other locations including Wybalena on Flinders Island. Most areas are on private land, however some plants are within the new Township Lagoon Nature Reserve. It also occurs in several conservation areas.

What is being done?

Research into the plant's germination was undertaken to see whether they require fire. Fire may trigger germination leading to increased numbers of plants. Some plants germinated in heavily grazed areas possibly due to the higher temperatures of bare earth. Heavy grazing may prevent the plant from spreading whilst moderate grazing seems to remove other plants which would otherwise outcompete the bush pea. In the absence of fire, this plant's survival depends on grazing, mowing or removing overstorey species. For larger scale germination, an occasional moderate to hot fire may be necessary.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading.

Lynch A.J.J. 1993. Conservation Biology and Management of 16 Rare or Threatened Fabaceae Species in Tasmania. Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania.