Blue wallabygrass (Rytidosperma popinensis) is a tufted perennial grass in the Poaceae family. It is endemic to Tasmania’s Midlands and lower Derwent Valley, growing for the most part along roadside verges. The original habitat for blue wallaby grass is likely to have been grassy open woodlands dominated by eucalypts such as Eucalyptus pauciflora (cabbage gum) and Eucalyptus viminalis (white gum). The majority of known localities now occur on roadside verges in the southern and northern Midlands. These sites are generally on flat or gently sloping ground, on rock-free soils with a sandy loam or sandy clay loam topsoil. The primary threat to blue wallaby grass is clearance of its grassland and grassy woodland habitat for agricultural and urban development. Additional threats include inappropriate management of roadside occurrences, overgrazing, competition from exotic plants and the stochastic risk of extinction for smaller populations.
- Important: Is this species in your area? Do you need a permit? Ensure you’ve covered all the issues by checking the Planning Ahead page.
- Important: Different threatened species may have different requirements. For any activity you are considering, read the Activity Advice pages for background information and important advice about managing around the needs of multiple threatened species.
- ‘Habitat’ refers to both known habitat for the species (i.e. in or near habitat where the species has been recorded) and potential habitat (i.e. areas of habitat with appropriate characteristics for the species and within the species potential range which have not yet been surveyed).
- If in doubt about whether a site represents potential habitat for this species, contact the Threatened Species Section for further advice.
- The known range of blue wallabygrass includes the southern and northern Midlands. The potential range of blue wallabygrass is unlikely to extend further than the current known range, however there is a reasonable likelihood that additional sites will be discovered within the species known range.
- Habitat for blue wallabygrass corresponds to ‘lowland grassland' and ‘grassy woodland and forest’ in the DPIPWE Bushcare Toolkit. See Grassy Bush in the BushcareToolkit for more information on managing these vegetation types.
- Habitat for blue wallabygrass includes the following elements: the original habitat was grassy open woodlands dominated by eucalypts such as Eucalyptus pauciflora (cabbage gum) and Eucalyptus viminalis (white gum); extant localities tend to be associated with disturbed open sites rather than ‘intact’ native grasslands, with the majority on roadside verges; sites generally on flat or gently sloping ground, on rock-free soils with a sandy loam or sandy clay loam topsoil.
What to avoid
- Clearing grassy woodland habitat for agriculture, road construction and urban development
- Inappropriate management (slashing/mowing/burning) of roadside habitat
- Overgrazing of habitat
- Infestation of habitat by weeds
- This grass flowers from December to March. Most herbarium specimens have been collected from February to April, the recommended timing for surveys, though the species has been recorded at other times of the year, either identified from remnant flower spikes or its bluish foliage. Mature inflorescences are required for identification.
- The majority of known localities occur on roadside verges in the southern and northern Midlands that are subject to annual slashing, mowing or sustainable grazing. The sites tend to be flat or gently sloping and the soils are usually rock free with a sandy loam/sandy clay loam topsoil. The original habitat was probably grassy open woodland dominated by Eucalyptus pauciflora (cabbage gum) and Eucalyptus viminalis (white gum).
Helping the species
- In order to recognise the species if it occurs on your property, learn to identify blue wallabygrass. If in doubt, seek expert assistance with identification.
- If you live or work in the area where the species occurs (see distribution map, above), look out for and record any observations of the species. All records of this species can provide important information on distribution and abundance.
- If you are interested in knowing for certain whether the species occurs on your land, organise a formal survey. You may need to employ an ecological consultant to do this. Your local Bushcare or Field Naturalist club may be able to assist you with a survey.
- Important! Always report any observations of the species to the DPIPWE Natural Values Atlas, or else provide the data direct to the Threatened Species Section. Records stored on the NVA are a permanent record and are accessible to other people interested in this species. Consider the needs of the whole habitat. Preserving a threatened species' habitat is the best way to manage both the species and the environment in which it lives.
Habitat for blue wallabygrass corresponds to ‘lowland grassland and ‘grassy woodland and forest’ in the DPIPWE Bushcare Toolkit. See Grassy Bush in the Bushcare Toolkit for more information on managing these vegetation types.
- For long-term protection of populations on private land – consider protection of habitat through a vegetation management agreement or conservation covenant.
- See the 'What is Needed' section in the blue wallaby grass Listing Statement for a full list of conservation management actions for this species.
Cutting or clearing trees or vegetation
- Blanket clearance of habitat for housing, agriculture and transport corridors pose a direct threat to the species.
- The open conditions favoured by blue wallabygrass may be provided by either fire or slashing/mowing after seed has dispersed. However, the increase in bare ground associated with such disturbance may also encourage competition from exotic species, and slashing/mowing for roadside maintenance may pose a threat to the species if not managed appropriately.
- To prevent loss of habitat – avoid clearing of native grassland and grassy woodland habitat.
- To prevent degradation of habitat – when slashing or mowing roadside habitat, ensure slashing/mowing is conducted after seed set, and in a manner that avoids creating areas of bare ground which can lead to weed infestation.
- Many localities of this species occur along roadside margins, and future road upgrades may pose a threat to the species.
- To prevent loss of habitat – avoid clearing of known localities during road upgrades.
- Many of the species’ roadside occurrences are threatened with competition from exotic species, including grasses, African boxthorn, briar rose, pines and elm suckers.
- To prevent degradation of roadside and other habitat – prevent establishment and spread of weeds in areas of habitat.
- Grazing throughout the year can prevent new seed from forming and dispersing and therefore new plants from germinating. Persistent overgrazing is therefore a threat to the species.
- The chances of the species spreading into private land from adjoining road reserve sites are low due to the likelihood of overgrazing.
- To prevent degradation and loss of habitat – avoid year-round grazing of habitat.
- To encourage spread of this species from roadside verges into adjacent habitat – avoid year-round grazing of adjacent habitat.
Changing water flow / quality
Use of chemicals
- Many localities of this species occur along roadside margins and may be susceptible to off-target damage from herbicides during weed control operations.
- To protect roadside localities – ensure all weed control operations in and adjacent to habitat are appropriately managed to avoid off-target damage to blue wallaby grass.