Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Critically Endangered as Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice for Norfolk Island Flora - 11 Critically Endangered Species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003o) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010) [Recovery Plan] as Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus.
 
Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW DECC), 2007b) [Recovery Plan] as Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus.
 
Information Sheets What the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) means for Norfolk Islanders (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2004i) [Information Sheet].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (03/11/2003) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2003a) [Legislative Instrument] as Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (72) (15/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008k) [Legislative Instrument] as Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus.
 
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Critically Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus
Scientific name Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus [82413]
Family Poaceae:Cyperales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author  
Infraspecies author (Endl.) de Lange & R.O.Gardner
Reference e Lange, P.J., Gardner, R.O., Sykes, W.R., Crowcroft, G.M., Cameron, E.K., Stalker, F., Christian, M.L. & Braggins, J.E. (2005) New Zealand Journal of Botany 43: 571 [comb. et stat. nov.]
Other names Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus [22138]
Triticum kingianum [42275]
Agropyron kingianum [78846]
Elymus kingianus [78847]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific Name: Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus

Common Name: Phillip Island Wheat Grass

Phillip Island Wheat Grass was previously known as Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus. It was raised to the subspecies level in 2005 (de Lange et al. 2005). It differs from New Zealand plants by the multiplicity of small prickle teeth on the lemmas and on the glume of the former (Conner 1994).

Phillip Island Wheat Grass is a tufted perennial grass, 30–100 cm tall, with a low, spreading habit and narrow glaucous leaves 3–5 mm wide (DEH 2003b; Green 1994; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Phillip Island Wheat Grass occurs in three locations: Phillip Island (near Nofolk Island), Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island. At the species level Elymus multiflorus is also found in coastal eastern Australia (Connor 1990; de Lange et al. 2005).

Within the Norfolk Island Group, this species was thought to be confined to Phillip Island, and was believed to have become extinct there due to grazing by rabbits, goats and pigs on the island (Green 1994). When these feral animals were removed, Phillip Island Wheat Grass was able to recolonise the area, and was rediscovered on Phillip Island in 1987 (Sykes & Atkinson 1988). The species is presumed to have survived on the steep cliffs around the island which were inaccessible to the grazing animals (Sykes & Atkinson 1988). A specimen of Phillip Island Wheat Grass was discovered on Norfolk Island in 1963 (Connor 1990; Green 1994).

Current occurrences on Norfolk Island are possibly due to propagation and translocation of specimens from Phillip Island (DEH 2003b).

At the species level, Elymus multiflorus is also found in New Zealand (de Lange et al. 2005).

Sykes and Atkinson (1988) surveyed the rare and endangered plants of Norfolk Island in 1987 and rediscovered Phillip Island Wheat Grass, which was thought to be extinct. Surveys and assessment of suitable habitat on Lord Howe Island were conducted between 2008–2011 (Auld et al. 2011).

In 2003, there were fewer than 50 individuals of Phillip Island Wheat Grass growing on Norfolk and Phillip Islands (TSSC 2003o). There are up to 50 plants on Lord Howe Island (Auld et al. 2011).

Phillip Island is included as part of the Norfolk Island National Park.

Much of Lord Howe Island (75%) is a Permanent Park Preserve, with similar status to that of a national park (DECC 2007).

On Phillip Island, the species is found growing on a north-facing slope, among tall herbs and subshrubs, often in association with Ice Plant (Carpobrotus glaucescens) (Connor 1990; Sykes & Atkinson 1988). On Lord Howe Island, the subspecies occurs between exposed basalt-derived cliffs and upslope littoral rainforest (Auld et al. 2011). Associated plants on Lord Howe Island include Melaleuca howeana, Poa poiformis, Bully Bush (Cassinia tenuifolia), Sand Couch (Sporobolus virginicus), Sticky Hop-bush (Dodonaea viscosa), Melanthera biflora and Coast Beard Heath (Leucopogon parviflorus) (Auld et al. 2011).

The Phillip Island Wheat Grass population on Phillip Island has been threatened in the past by feral rabbits, goats and pigs. However, these species have now been removed from the Island and do not pose a current threat to the species' recovery (Green 1994). The loss of vegetation from Phillip Island due to grazing animals has led to high levels of erosion (Director of National Parks 2008). This reduces the ability of Phillip Island Wheat Grass to recolonise the island.

On Lord Howe Island, Phillip Island Wheat Grass may be at risk from vegetation clearing in the settlement area, weeds and erosion (Auld et al. 2011; DECC 2007). It may also be threatened by trampling and grazing by introduced animals. Goats are present on the island; however, an extermination program has reduced them to very low numbers (DECC 2007) and they pose a low threat. Pigs introduced to Lord Howe Island may have had an impact on the species in the past but were eradicated from the island in the early 1980s. Cattle and horses are present on the Island and can have a negative impact on Phillip Island Wheat Grass through grazing and trampling (DECC 2007).

The pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi has been detected on Lord Howe Island. The susceptibility of Phillip Island Wheat Grass to dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomiis not known, however most grass species seem to be resistant (Environment Australia 2001l; Hinch & Weste 1979).

Phillip Island Wheat Grass is also threatened by the presence of exotic perennial grasses on Lord Howe Island and the Norfolk Island Group, especially Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum), Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) (DECC 2007), Parramatta Grass (Sporobolus africanus), Prairie Grass (Bromus catharticus) and Great Brome (Bromus diandrus) (Auld et al. 2011).

Weed control and revegetation is being undertaken on Phillip Island, Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island to address problems of soil erosion, weed invasion and loss of native species (DECC 2007; Director of National Parks 2008; Ziesing 1997). Erosion is also being reduced by the placement of barriers along watercourses on Phillip Island to decrease soil loss during heavy rainfall (Mosley 2001). A goat control program is ongoing on Lord Howe Island (DECC 2007).

There are quarantine protocols in place on Lord Howe Island and the Norfolk Island group to prevent the introduction of exotic pest species, weeds and pathogens (DECC 2007; Director of National Parks 2008).

On Lord Howe Island, a permantent monitoring plot and rodent bait station was established by the Lord Howe Island Board and some individual plants were tagged in 2011 (Auld et al. 2011).

Principles relevant to the conservation of Phillip Island Wheat Grass can be found in:

  • Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan (DECC 2007).

  • Norfolk Island National Park and Norfolk Island Botanic Garden Management Plan 2008–2018 (Director of National Parks 2008).

  • Island On the Brink: A Conservation Strategy for Norfolk Island (Mosley 2001).

  • Norfolk Island Weed Control Manual: for selected weeds occurring in Norfolk Island National Park (Ziesing 1997).

  • The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

    Threat Class Threatening Species References
    Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Commonwealth Listing Advice for Norfolk Island Flora - 11 Critically Endangered Species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003o) [Listing Advice].

    Auld, T.D., S. Bower & I. Hutton (2011). Assessing the conservation status of the grass Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus on Lord Howe Island, NSW. Cunninghamia. 12(2):137-142.

    Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) (2008). Climate of Norfolk Island. [Online]. Commonwealth of Australia. Available from: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/nsw/norfolk/climate.shtml.

    Conner, H.E. (1994). Indigenous New Zealand Triticeae: Gramineae. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 32:125-154.

    Connor, H.E. (1990). Elymus (Gramineae) on Norfolk Island. Kew Bulletin. 45:680.

    de Lange, P.J, R.O.Gardner, W.R. Sykes, G.M. Crowcroft, E.K. Cameron, F. Stalker, M.L. Christian & J.E. Braggins (2005). Vascular flora of Norfolk Island: some additions and taxonomic notes. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 43:563-596.

    Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2003b). What the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) means for Norfolk Islanders - Consultation Draft. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/norfolk-island/index.html.

    Director of National Parks (2008). Norfolk Island National Park and Norfolk Island Botanic Garden Management Plan 2008-2018. [Online]. Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/publications/norfolk/pubs/management-plan.pdf.

    Director of National Parks (DNP) (2010). Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan. [Online]. Canberra, Director of National Parks Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/norfolk-island.html.

    Environment Australia (EA) (2001m). Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/phytophthora.html.

    Green, P.S. (1994). Norfolk Island & Lord Howe Island. In: Flora of Australia. 49:1-681. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Publishing Service.

    Hinch, J. & G. Weste (1979). Phytophthora cinnamomi: zoospore behaviour on roots of Australian forest species. Australian Journal of Botany. 27:679-91.

    Mosley, J.G. (2001). Island on the Brink: A Conservation Strategy for Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island Conservation Society, Melbourne, Victoria.

    NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW DECC) (2007b). Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan. [Online]. Sydney, NSW: NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/lord-howe/index.html.

    Sykes, W.R. & I.A.E. Atkinson (1988). Rare and endangered plants of Norfolk Island. New Zealand: Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

    Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2003o). Commonwealth Listing Advice for Norfolk Island Flora - 11 Critically Endangered Species. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/norfolk-island-flora-critically.html.

    Ziesing, P.D. (1997). Norfolk Island Weed Control Manual: for selected weeds occurring in Norfolk Island National Park. Environment Australia, Biodiversity Group, Parks Australia (South).

    EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

    This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

    Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Elymus multiflorus subsp. kingianus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:51:26 +1000.