Daviesia euphorbioides Fabaceae
Short multi-branched shrub, 500 - 800 mm in height and 500 mm - 1 m in diameter. Rigid, mostly ascending leafless stems with short sharp thorns.
Yellow/red pea-like flowers in winter or early spring.
Fruit is a triangular-shaped pod with one to two seeds.
Found on sandy soils approximately three hours northeast of Perth (around Wongan Hills), Western Australia.
Declared rare and critically endangered.
In the year 2000 there were only 72 mature plants known to exist.
For a number of years the government has been struggling with a recovery plan, as the remaining mature plants were dying out and reproduction was poor or non-existent in places, and so a program was needed to find ways to stimulate regeneration.
In 2006 a biodiversity assessment of species at risk conducted by the state government recorded that the condition or overall health of all known mature plants were ‘rapidly declining’, as the population was mostly comprised of aging plants that would all die off within a few years.
So as a result, a burning of Daviesia euphorbioides sites was undertaken in an attempt to germinate seeds and establish seedlings, and I’m told, with some level of success.
This endemic and rare native plant is the closest any Australian plant comes to being cactus-like in appearance and growth habit. Except that the stems when dissected or viewed in cross-section reveal a lack of water storage tissue which is typical of cacti.
The stem tissue of Daviesia euphorbioides is described as dry and pithy, appearing more like foam or meringue.
One of the early stories I’ve heard is that during a council roadside cleanup a plant was discovered, and it was going to be removed as garden waste, as it looked like an exotic cactus and nothing like the local vegetation. Luckily on this occasion it was investigated further and as a result was saved.
The few locations where Daviesia euphorbioides is found are restricted and not accessible to the general public.