Verticordia harveyi

Verticordia harveyi

Verticordia harveyi is a spindly shrub found in Southwest Australia. It is commonly referred to by the name Autumn Featherflower.

The plants are upright and sparse, with one or several main stems, and a lignotuber which provides the ability to regenerate after bushfire. Ranging in height from 0.2 - 1.5 m high, the habit is an openly branched and slender shrub. The plant displays white, purple, and pink flowers sometime between January and April; these are erect and grouped in spike or corymb-like arrangement. The leaves are 8 to 12 mm in length, long, slender, and partly rounded, terminating in a long point. The floral leaf, similar to those on the stem, extends upward to cradle the inflorescence.

Verticordia harveyi occurs in white sand, on small hills, at the most southern region of the state. Early records of specimen collections near Cape Riche exist to the 1950s, but could not be found again until its rediscovery in 1991. An occurrence at the Stirling Range has since been recorded.

The first description of this species was published by George Bentham in Flora Australiensis. The type specimen for this description was collected by William Henry Harvey in 1854, inspiring the binary name. A similar specimen preserved by George Maxwell in 1860 has been identified as this species, a syntype, and was probably collected at the same location. The infrageneric arrangement of Verticordia, published by Alex George in 1991, has this species included within section Verticordia sect. Verticordia, which is contained by Verticordia subg. Verticordia. Another related species of the region, Verticordia pityrhops, can be distinguished by its dense arrangement of the leaves, and the smaller flowers. The plant frequently occurs with - and misidentified as - another Verticordia, the subspecies Verticordia sieberi subsp. lomata.

Verticordia harveyi has been assessed, and gazetted, as rare taxa. The known populations are small and some of these colonies are exposed to changes in land use. The recently discovered colonies are located in a National Park, but these would be insufficient to maintain the viability of the species.

Notes

References

  • George (Berndt), Elizabeth A.; Margaret Pieroni (illustrations) (2002). Verticordia: the turner of hearts. Crawley: University of Western Australia Press.

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