Murrumbidgee Bossiaea

The Murrumbidgee Bossiaea (Bossiaea grayi) is found only in the ACT and in only ten known sites along the Murrumbidgee, Paddy’s and Cotter rivers.Bossiaea grayi (Murrumbidgee bossiaea): a) in flower at Australian National Botanical Gardens

The ACT Flora and Fauna Committee declared the shrub endangered in January 2012 because it is in danger of premature extinction due to its small number and fragmented distribution.

This rare, wiry shrub generally grows to around 1.5 metres high. It has yellow and brown pea flowers from September to October then develops long seedpods that drop off the plant in December. Flattened stems function as leaves (cladodes).

The Murrumbidgee Bossiaea typically grows in sandy soil amongst boulders on river banks and adjacent slopes close to rivers.

The number of plants at the known locations range from 2000 at only one site, to a single plant at another. This shows the variability in the occurrence of this plant.

Conservation threats

The main threats to the Murrumbidgee Bossiaea include:

  • competition from native shrubs and weeds
  • damage by human activity.

Conservation actions

The ACT Government proposes to protect the shrub by helping to maintain viable wild populations in the ACT and managing the habitat so natural processes can continue to operate giving the plant the best chance of recovery. 

Conservation actions focus on:

  • managing known populations in protected areas such as nature reserves, including weed management
  • managing activities near populations that are not in protected areas
  • supporting seed banking and the establishment of separate populations away from the river
  • undertaking surveys to confirm where populations are and their size
  • supporting collaborative research to better understand the species and mitigate threats to it, particularly seed production, seed germination and weed management.

Current status

The ACT Government has surveyed known sites to confirm the presence and abundance of populations of Murrumbidgee Bossiaea. The survey recorded the species at ten locations. Regular monitoring of the sites and research on the species’ biology and ecology will allow for better informed management of the species.

Clearly identifying and documenting the distribution and extent of Murrumbidgee Bossiaea helps ecologists determine which parts of the population are adequately protected from threats, and those which require additional management action to ensure existing or new threats do not cause a decline.

More information

Acknowledgements: Photo courtesy of Luke Johnston