Census of the Flora of the Australian Capital Territory

Version 4.0 — 13 September 2017

(ARCHIVE: see latest version for current information)

B.J. Lepschi, D.J. Mallinson, D.C.Cargill & D.E.Albrecht (editors)

L.G.Adams†, D.E.Albrecht, B.J.Lepschi, D.J.Mallinson (vascular plants excluding Orchidaceae)
D.C.Cargill (hornworts, liverworts and mosses)
M.A.Clements (Orchidaceae)
J.A.Elix (lichens)
H.Lepp (fungi and slime moulds)
A.M.Monro (data management)
S.B.Sharp (common names)

†Deceased 7th November 2014


This Census lists the scientific names of the native and naturalised vascular plants (Pinophyta and Magnoliophyta), fungi and lichens (Eumycota), hornworts (Anthocerophyta), liverworts (Marchantiophyta), mosses (Bryophyta), and slime moulds (Myxogastria) known to occur in the Australian Capital Territory, but excluding the Australian Commonwealth Territory of Jervis Bay on the New South Wales south coast. Census records are based on herbarium specimens housed in the Australian National Herbarium (CANB), except for some fungal and moss taxa for which no material is available at CANB. Census data for mosses may be an under-estimate of species diversity in the ACT. Lack of staff expertise in moss taxonomy and identification at CANB renders examination and identification of all ACT moss collections impractical. Accordingly, only data from ACT specimens that have been examined/determined by moss specialists are included in this Census.

This version of the Census updates version 3.0 (8th June 2012), via the inclusion of data for fungi, lichens and mosses and new data for vascular plants, liverworts and slime moulds. Data for hornworts remains unchanged from version 3.0.

As with all censuses, this is a work in progress, and changes to the taxa listed can be expected as new collections and data become available. The Census compilers welcome any feedback – please contact us at canbr-info@anbg.gov.au if you have any comments or corrections.

Census of Vascular Plants of the ACT (alphabetical by family)

Census of Vascular Plants of the ACT (alphabetical by genus)

Census of Fungi of the ACT (alphabetical by family)

Census of Lichens of the ACT (alphabetical by family)

Census of Hornworts & Liverworts of the ACT (alphabetical by family)

Census of Mosses of the ACT (alphabetical by family)

Census of Slime Moulds of the ACT

Statistics for the ACT flora

Explanatory text for Census fields


Family concepts for all groups except fungi (including lichens), mosses and slime moulds follow those adopted by the Australian Plant Census (see www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc), with some modifications (e.g. Caesalpiniaceae and Mimosaceae are retained as distinct families rather than being included in an expanded Fabaceae). Fungal families follow MycoBank (http://www.mycobank.org/), except for lichens, which follow Rogers & Hafellner (1992). Moss families follow Goffinet et al. (2009) and slime mould families follow Kirk et al. (2008).

Plant name

Taxonomic concepts are those adopted by the Australian National Herbarium. For all groups except fungi, lichens, mosses and slime moulds these generally follow those recommended by the Australian Plant Census where relevant groups have been treated, but may diverge where a differing view is held by research staff at CANB.

Taxa that have not yet been formally published are listed using the format recommended by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) for informal names, as outlined by Barker (2005).

Authors of plant names and supplementary nomenclatural information are available for vascular plants, hornworts and liverworts via the Australian Plant Name Index (APNI – see https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/APNI).

Origin (excluding fungi and slime moulds)

This field indicates whether a taxon is indigenous to Australia and/or the ACT. There is insufficient knowledge of Australian slime moulds to be able to accurately judge the indigenous or exotic status of these organisms in the ACT. For origin information of fungal taxa, see below.

• Blank – indigenous Australian taxon occurring naturally in the ACT

• Exotic [EA] – a taxon introduced to Australia and the ACT (i.e. extra-Australian)

• Exotic [Aust] – an indigenous Australian taxon which does not occur naturally in the ACT. This applies to many native Australian plants which have become naturalised outside their normal ranges (e.g. Acacia baileyana, Melaleuca armillaris subsp. armillaris)

• Indigenous/Exotic [Aust] – an indigenous Australian taxon, represented in the ACT by both naturally occurring and naturalised populations. For example, Passiflora cinnabarina, restricted naturally in the ACT to the Booroomba Rocks area, but also occurring as naturalised plants on Black Mountain, originating from plantings within the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Uncertain – a taxon of indeterminate status in the ACT. Four taxa are treated under this definition in the current version of this census:  Daviesia acicularis, Maireana microphylla, Oxalis thompsoniae and Salsola australis.  It is unclear whether plants of Daviesia acicularis and Maireana microphylla occurring in the ACT are naturally occurring, or introductions from outside the ACT.  The status of Oxalis thompsoniae in Australia is unclear, and it may represent an indigenous taxon or an introduction (see Conn & Richards 1994). Considerable confusion surrounds the taxonomy and status of Salsola in Australia (see Australian Plant Census (https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/APC), and plants of Salsola australis naturalised in the ACT may represent either an indigenous or extra-Australian taxon.

For the purposes of this census, the definition of a naturalised plant is a plant originating outside of the Australian Capital Territory, subsequently introduced to the ACT by or with the help of human intervention, and persisting there unaided by human intervention.

Origin (fungi only)

This field indicates whether a taxon is indigenous to Australia and/or the ACT. Determining the origin of fungal taxa is problematic and the categories employed in this census for vascular plants, hornworts, liverworts and mosses do not usefully translate to fungi.

• Blank – putatively indigenous Australian taxon. The taxon may occur only in Australia or may be found overseas as well, but in the latter case the evidence suggests it is naturally widespread, not an introduction to Australia. There is no attempt to differentiate between taxa that occur naturally in the ACT and those that occur naturally elsewhere in Australia but which have been introduced to the ACT. Records of some widespread taxa may represent misapplications of names to taxa, as yet undescribed, that are confined to Australia.

• Exotic [EA] – a taxon for which there is strong evidence of its having been introduced to Australia.

Naturalised Status (vascular plants only)

This field is blank for taxa occurring naturally in the ACT.

Non-indigenous plants display varying degrees of persistence and naturalisation in the ACT (and indeed Australia). Some, like Echium plantagineum or Hypochoeris radicata, are common and widespread, with large, widely distributed, self-sustaining populations. Others, like Mirabilis jalapa or Solanum lycopersicon are more ephemeral, with scattered small populations which may or may not persist in the longer term. Taxa in the latter category are treated as Doubtfully Naturalised, indicating that the taxon is known to occur in the ACT and is represented by one or more populations, but the extent of naturalisation is uncertain. These taxa have the potential to become ‘truly’ naturalised.

Non-indigenous taxa previously recorded from the ACT, but for which no collections have been made within the past 30 years, are treated as Formerly Naturalised. Similarly, non-indigenous taxa previously recorded for the ACT, but for which no collections have been made within the past 50 years, are no longer considered to be part of the flora of the ACT and are therefore excluded from the main body of the Census. However, as the latter set of taxa constitutes part of the historical record of the ACT flora, they are listed separately in Appendix 1. In addition, records are held at CANB for a further 38 non-indigenous species that have been collected within the ACT but that are not considered to be naturalised. They are excluded from the census on the basis of at least one of the following reasons: plants are adventive within a highly managed environment (e.g. presumed to have self-sown in a garden); an adventive occurrence is limited to a single plant, which was generally eliminated in order to prepare a herbarium specimen; or an adventive occurrence is of uncertain origin, and may represent cultivated plants only.

These data are presented only for vascular plants, as there are insufficient collections of the few introduced cryptogamic taxa in the ACT to determine their exact status.

Most recent record (vascular plants only)

The year in which the taxon was last collected from within the ACT. Used primarily to assist in determining the status of non-indigenous taxa.


A representative specimen for each taxon recorded from the ACT, cited by the collector/s name and collection number. In the absence of a collection number (sine numero or s.n.), the CANB/CBG accession number is provided. All vouchers are housed in the collection of the Australian National Herbarium (CANB), with the exception of some fungal and moss vouchers. Where no voucher specimen is available at CANB for these taxa, a suitable specimen collected from the ACT cited in a taxonomic revision is listed, along with the herbarium in which the specimen is lodged, preceded by “ ** ”. Where fungal material is a parasitic taxon (such as a smut fungus) isolated from a vascular collection, only the accession number and herbarium code of the fungal isolate is presented. Relevant references for fungi are Grgurinovic (2002), Lebel (2003), Priest (2006), Vánky & Shivas (2008), Wood (1997) and Young (2005).

Vouchers were selected on the basis of quality of herbarium material and reliability of the determination. In cases where few specimens were available, the best overall was chosen. Herbarium codes follow Index Herbariorum (see http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/ih/).

Common name (vascular plants only)

Common names adopted are those in general and widespread use in the Australian literature. Where no common name exists, a generalised name is provided, e.g. "A sedge" for various species of Cyperaceae, "A wallaby grass" for Rytidosperma bipartitum and R. fulvum, and so on.


Summary statistics for the ACT flora are presented below.

GROUP Species
(Aust.) species
(Aust.) taxa
(EA) species
(EA) taxa
Indigenous/Exotic (Aust.)
Vascular plants 1599 1673 1032 1085 555 576 53 57 502 519 8
Fungi 297 297 263 263 34 34 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Lichens 490 500 490 500 0 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Hornworts 3 3 3 3 0 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Liverworts 79 79 77 77 2 2 0 0 2 2 0
Mosses 196 200 195 199 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Slime Moulds 28 28 28 28 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


GROUP Doubtfully
Taxa of
No longer
Vascular plants 145 64 4 31 8 23 39
Fungi 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Lichens 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Hornworts 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Liverworts 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Mosses 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Slime Moulds n/a n/a n/a 0 0 0 n/a


Production of this Census would not be possible without the considerable efforts of the numerous collectors and botanists whose collections comprise part of the Australian National Herbarium, and in turn form the basis of this work. We are grateful to all concerned, and to the many interested individuals who have contributed additional information since the first version of the Census was produced in late 2007.  Particular thanks are due to Isobel Crawford, Rosemary Purdie, Mike Sim and the staff of ACT Parks and Conservation Service for their continued support and interest. A number of colleagues both interstate and overseas have also generously provided taxonomic advice and expertise in their respective groups, and we are most grateful for their assistance: Bill Barker (Hakea), Judith Curnow (bryophytes and lichens), David Halford (Chamaesyce), Peter Heenan and John Hosking (Cotoneaster), the late Bob Johnson (Ipomoea), Maggie Nightingale (Poaceae) and Karen Wilson (Juncus). Isobel Crawford, David Eddy and Rainer Rehwinkel also provided much appreciated input and advice regarding common names.


Barker, W.R. (2005). Standardising informal names in Australian publications, Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 122: 11–12. (http://www.asbs.org.au/asbs/newsletter/pdf/05-march-122.pdf)

Conn, B.J. & Richards, P.G. (1994). A new species of Oxalis section Corniculatae (Oxalidaceae) from Australasia. Australian Systematic Botany 7(2): 171–181.

Goffinet, B., Buck, W.R. & Shaw, A.J. in Goffinet, B. & Shaw, A.J. (eds) (2009). Families: Morphology, anatomy and classification of the Bryophyta. Bryophyte Biology, 2nd edn, pp. 55–138. (Cambridge University Press, New York).

Grgurinovic, C.A. (2002). The Genus Mycena in South-Eastern Australia. (ABRS, Canberra/Fungal Diversity Press: Hong Kong).

Kirk, P.M., Cannon, P.F., Minter, D.W. & Stalpers, J.A. (eds). (2008). Dictionary of Fungi, 10th edn. (CABI/CSIRO Publishing, Wallingford/Collingwood).

Lebel, T. (2003). Australasian sequestrate (truffle-like) fungi. XIII. Cystangium (Russulales, Basidiomycota). Australian Systematic Botany 16: 371–400.

Priest, M.J. (2006). Septoria. Fungi of Australia (ABRS, Canberra/CSIRO, Melbourne).

Rogers, R.W. & Hafellner, J. in A.S.George (ed). (1992). A systematic arrangement of Australian lichens. Flora of Australia 54: 47–65. (AGPS: Canberra).

Vánky, K. & Shivas, R.G. (2008). The Smut Fungi. Fungi of Australia (ABRS, Canberra/CSIRO, Melbourne).

Wood, A.E. (1997). Studies in the Genus Amanita (Agaricales) in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 10: 723–954.

Young, A.M. (2005). Hygrophoraceae. Fungi of Australia (ABRS, Canberra/CSIRO, Melbourne).


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