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 Meryta latifolia
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [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 Meryta latifolia.
 
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 Meryta latifolia.
 
Scientific name Meryta latifolia [65882]
Family Araliaceae:Apiales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (Endl.) Seem.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Bonplandia 10: 295 (1862).
Other names Botryodendrum latifolium [30856]
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.

Other illustrations Google Images
http://www.anbg.gov.au/images/photo_cd/519816120330/040.html
http://www.deh.gov.au/parks/norfolk/botanic.html

Scientific Name: Meryta latifolia

Common Name: Shade Tree, Broad-leaved Meryta

This species was previously known as Botryodendrum latifolium Endl.


This species is closely related to M. angustifolia, but can be distinguished by its broader leaves and shorter-stalked flowers and fruits (Green 1994; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Shade Tree grows to 6 m high with a single trunk or a few branches. The wood is brittle. It has large, light green, glossy leaves, 50–75 cm long and 25–30 cm wide. Shade Tree has a large flower spike 10–15 cm long (DEH 2004i; Green 1994; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Shade Tree is endemic to Norfolk Island (DEH 2004i; Green 1994; TSSC 2003t). It has been recorded from Mt Pitt Road (Green 1994), Ball Bay, Anson Bay and Mission Road forest remnants (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Shade Tree has an extent of occurrence of 3.681 kmē (TSSC 2003t).

Shade Tree can be considered to have a severely fragmented distribution as it occurs only as isolated subpopulations on Norfolk Island, with five of the ten sites containing only one or two plants (TSSC 2003t).

Sykes and Atkinson (1988) conducted a survey of the rare and endangered plants of Norfolk Island in 1987.

In 2003 there were 149 mature plants remaining in the wild. Of this total population only about 20 were female (DEH 2003b; TSSC 2003t).

There are ten subpopulations of Shade Tree. One subpopulation has approximately 115 individuals; all other populations have no more than 13 plants. Five of the subpopulations consist of only one or two plants (TSSC 2003t).

There is no quantifiable data for the population trend, but a decline in numbers is inferred based on land clearing, grazing and habitat degradation. This decline is predicted to continue (TSSC 2003t).


Shade Tree is often found growing with Meryta angustifolia, but no hybridisation has been noted (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Shade Tree populations are found in the Norfolk Island National Park and the Norfolk Island Botanic Gardens (Director of National Parks 2008).

This species grows mainly below 150 m above sea level, often on coastal cliffs or steep slopes. It is found both in shaded and unshaded positions. Most commonly, it establishes at the edges of canopy gaps or along forest margins, but sometimes also beneath Norfolk Island Pines (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).


Norfolk Island has a sub-tropical climate (BoM 2008).

This tree is dioecious, i.e. it has separate male and female plants (TSSC 2003t). Since there are low numbers of plants, it is critical that flowering trees of both sexes are close enough to each other for pollen to be transferred from the male to the female flowers.

Shade Tree is threatened by habitat degradation such as land clearing and weed invasion. It is also vulnerable to unfavourable climate change, such as a projected increase in the incidence of drought and extreme rainfall events that cause physical damage (TSSC 2003t).

Shade Tree is highly palatable to stock and so is vulnerable to grazing (Sykes & Atkinson 1988). Rats are known to eat the top portion of mature stems, which prevents flowering and stops seed production. Rats also eat the seeds of this species (TSSC 2003t).


Norfolk Island is known to experience cyclones, which may damage this species or its habitat (BoM 2008; TSSC 2003t).


The Shade Tree population has a sex ratio bias, with only about 20 female plants out of a total population of 149, which reduces the effective reproductive population (TSSC 2003t). This sex ratio bias reduces the likelihood of feltilisation and lowers the amount of seed produced within the population.

A rat control program is in place on Norfolk Island (Director of National Parks 2008).

Weed control is also being undertaken. The principal weed species on Norfolk Island are: Red Guava (Psidium cattleianum var cattleianum), African Olive (Olea europaea subsp africana), Hawaiian Holly (Schinus terebinthifolius), Lantana (Lantana camara), William Taylor (Ageratina riparia), Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum), wild Tobacco (Solanum mauritianum), Formosan Lily (Lilium formosanum), Bleeding Heart (Homolanthus populifolius) and Morning Glory (Ipomoeia cairica) (Director of National Parks 2008; Ziesing 1997). These species can be controlled by the use of herbicides, and some can also be controlled by manual removal (Ziesing 1997). Weed control has been achieved by the removal of weed species and replanting with native species (Mosley 2001).

Sykes and Atkinson (1988) recommend raising Shade Tree from seed and planting saplings in lowland and coastal areas protected from grazing.

Management strategies relevant to the conservation of Shade Tree can be found in:

  • 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
    Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Reduced rainfall caused by climate change Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Climate Change and Severe Weather:Storms and Flooding:Storm damage Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Rattus rattus (Black Rat, Ship Rat) 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 predation by rats Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003t) [Listing Advice].
    Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Poor recruitment (regeneration) and declining population numbers Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].

    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.

    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.

    Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2004i). What the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) means for Norfolk Islanders. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/norfolk-island/pubs/norfolk-island.pdf.

    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.

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

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

    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) (2003t). Commonwealth Listing Advice for Meryta latifolia - (Broad-leaved Meryta). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/m-latifolia.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). Meryta latifolia in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:36:14 +1000.