The red snakebush is a prostrate perennial shrub that forms a mat up to 15 cm high and 2 m in diameter. Its primary stems are usually up to 40 cm long. The leaves are up to 20 mm long and 5 mm wide, green or grey-green, with three raised veins on the lower surface and a sharp, rigid apex. The dark red to pink flowers are clustered towards the end of the stems. The calyx (assemblage of leaf-like sepals at the base of the flower) is bell shaped, two lipped and 5 mm long. The corolla tube (fused assemblage of petals) is 14 mm long, with inserted stamens and anthers protruding a short way from the mouth of the corolla. Both leaves and calyxes are covered with short hairs giving the plant a grey appearance (Leigh et al., and Brown et al., cited in CALM, 2004). The red snakebush was first thought to be a variety of common snakebush (Hemiandra pungens) but is distinguished by the velvety hairs on the leaves and calyx, shortly protruding anthers and characters of the corolla (Leigh et al. and Brown et al., cited in CALM, 2004).
Hemiandra gardneri |
Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Hemiandra gardneri
Effects include increased wind speed; weed invasion; fertiliser and herbicide spray drift and runoff; modified hydrology and altered disturbance regimes; including fire (CALM; 2004).
They also increase the risk and severity of fire due to the easy ignition of high fuel loads; which are produced annually by many introduced grass species; and exacerbate browsing of the species habitats by rabbits.
Fire frequency Inappropriate fire regimes may affect the viability of red snakebush populations and affect their long term survival.