Synaphea stenoloba complex

Aim: Conservation Genomics
Project initiation: Aug 2020
Project lead: Rachel Binks | Dept of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) State Government of Western Australia

Project description:

Synaphea is a readily recognisable but taxonomically challenging genus of small shrubs endemic to southwestern Australia. The S. stenoloba complex comprises a number of named and phrase named taxa that are restricted to vegetation remnants on the Pinjarra Plain of the Swan Coastal Plain and are threatened by land clearing and fragmentation from expanding urbanisation and agriculture.

Synaphea stenoloba, S. odocoileops, S. sp. Pinjarra, S. sp. Fairbridge Farm, S. sp. Pinjarra Plain and S. sp. Serpentine are all poorly known and difficult to identify in the field. These taxa can also be confused with more widespread species, S. gracillima and S. petiolaris. It may be that hybridisation or recent speciation (or both!) explain the extensive morphological variability and overlap among these species.

Many of these species occur on road verges and mining tenements so resolution of this species complex will allow land managers, botanical consultants and DBCA personnel to identify these taxa and facilitate appropriate conservation protections for these threatened taxa.