Gompholobium species in Queensland

Aim: Conservation Genomics
Project initiation: Aug 2020
Project lead: Laura Simmons | Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Science

Gompholobium sp. Archer Point. Photographer: Simon Thompson. Reproduced with permission from Laura Simmons.

Project description:

The genus Gompholobium is currently represented by 44 recognised species, distributed through all Australian states as well as New Guinea and Wetar Island in the Lesser Sundas, Indonesia; 8 of these occur in Queensland (Chappill et al. 2008). In addition, there are two, broadly related taxa endemic to this state with hispid names that are recognised by the Queensland Herbarium:

  • Gompholobium sp. (Point Archer J.Wrigley+ NQ1301) is found across a small area of south-eastern Cape York Peninsula mainly west and northwest of Cooktown, with an outlier collected from Mt Windsor NP during a Bush Blitz targeted taxonomy project in 2013. It is allied to G. nitidum and G. subulatum.
  • Gompholobium sp. (Dave’s Creek P.I.Forster+ PIF15979) is a highly restricted taxon occurring in south-east Queensland related to G. pinnatum, distinguished by its distinctly broader leaves and smaller flowers.

Historically, the taxonomy of the genus is relatively well understood but the general acceptance of extreme variation in leaf and floral morphology within species has not been thoroughly investigated, as highlighted by the two Queensland hispid taxa.

Both G. sp. (Point Archer J.Wrigley+ NQ1301) and G. sp. (Dave’s Creek P.I.Forster+ PIF15979) have small geographic distributions and, if proven both genetically and morphologically distinct, warrant formal description and may require protection under state and federal legislation. This study aims to: (1) resolve taxonomic status of both Qld phrase name taxa and investigate their conservation genetics; and (2) contribute to the greater understanding of Gompholobium in northern Australia. If the phrase name species are distinct, these taxa can then be evaluated for conservation listing using the Common Assessment Method (CAM).