The status of the Australian flora was reviewed by compiling published information on all critically endangered and endangered species listed federally in 2004. Threatening processes were categorised and their contributions to past, present and future declines were assessed. The information was cross-referenced against State agency information and field knowledge. Land clearance for agriculture (grazing and cropping) and urbanization have been the primary causes of range contractions and habitat loss in the past, responsible for the current status of the majority of threatened Australian plants. In the future, land clearance will remain important but new issues are emerging. Many species are now at risk from demographic and environmental uncertainty alone. Threats growing in importance include disease, salinity; invasive species and changed disturbance regimes. Many species are subject to common, landscape-level threats. A key issue to emerge from our analysis is that most species are threatened by a number of interacting factors - threat syndromes. Several future risks may be mitigated effectively by simple, low-cost changes in policy, such as more stringent controls on land clearance, strategic fire management, and firmer control on the importation of plant species. Other factors will require greater effort and new strategies to mitigate, including social and legal initiatives in urban landscapes and broad strategies for pathogens, climate change and other landscape-level processes. Crown Copyright (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.