Variable Smoke-bush  |  

Conospermum hookeri

Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list

The species is a woody shrub, mostly 1-2 m high. Its branches are slender, erect and pubescent, while its leaves are spathulate or linear-oblong, 2-3 cm long and 1-3 mm wide, spreading and somewhat incurved, glabrescent to densely pilose. The inflorescence is a spike or few-branched panicle that terminates in a spike of up to 20 flowers. The perianth is two-lipped, creamy-white, 5-7 mm long, the tube longer than the lobes; tube 3-4 mm long, sparsely hairy; upper lip broad and concave with an acuminate, recurved apex; lower lip slightly longer than the upper and divided into three narrow spreading lobes. The fruit is a cone-shaped nut about 2 mm long, with a fringe of reddish-brown hairs.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Conospermum hookeri

    These activities increase the risk of direct damage to plants; the introduction and spread of disease as well as increased fire frequency (TSS; 2008).

    The main potential threats to the variable smoke bush include Inappropriate fire regimes (TSS; 2008).

    Fire is apparently an important factor in maintaining populations of the species; as several populations have been recorded in regenerating post fire heath and woodland and germination is likely to include fire related cues such as heat and smoke derivatives as observed in other Conospermum species (TSS; 2008).

    Fire frequencies that favour the variable smoke bush may be conservatively estimated to be between 10 to 30 years in heathy woodland forest vegetation (TSS; 2008).

    Fire frequencies that favour Conospermum hookeri may be conservatively estimated to be between 10 to 30 years in heathy woodland forest vegetation (TSS; 2008).

    More frequent hazard reduction burning could threaten the species survival.

  • Australian Government, Listing Advices, Conospermum hookeri

    Ongoing threats to the Tasmanian Smoke bush include land clearance; notably clearing for residential development in the north coast subpopulations infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi (Schahinger et al. 2003) and inappropriate fire regimes.

    Extreme fluctuations in numbers or extent are unlikely; as the species is a perennial woody shrub; though fire could cause some fluctuation in numbers by facilitating germination (Parks and Wildlife Service 2002).