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 Boehmeria australis subsp. australis
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 Boehmeria australis subsp. australis.
 
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 Boehmeria australis var. australis.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (115) (06/12/2010) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010e) [Legislative Instrument] as Boehmeria australis subsp. australis.
 
Scientific name Boehmeria australis subsp. australis [83309]
Family Urticaceae:Urticales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Endl.
Infraspecies author  
Reference de 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: 570
Other names Procris splendens [78826]
Boehmeria australis var. australis [65896]
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: Boehmeria australis var. australis

Common Name: Tree Nettle, Nettletree

Synonym: Procris splendens Lindley

Tree Nettle is a large spreading shrub or tree to 5 m tall. The leaves are 8–12 cm long, have prominent veins, and are silvery or pale grey on the underside (de Lange et al. 2005; Green 1994; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Tree Nettle is similar to the closely-related Boehmeria australis subsp. dealbata found on the Kermadec Islands, but can be distinguished in particular by the longer petioles (leaf stalks) and prominient veins (de Lange et al. 2005).

Tree Nettle is endemic to Norfolk Island where it is more or less confined to the Norfolk Island National Park. This species has been recorded from Mt Pitt, the saddle between Mt Pitt and Mt Bates, and the track leading to Red Road on Mt Bates (Green 1994). Outside the Park, it occurs in the Mission Road area and in the rainforest remnant near Prince Phillip Drive (Gilmour & Helman 1989; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Norfolk Island is the only location where Tree Nettle is found.

In 2003, there were 33 mature plants surviving in the wild (TSSC 2003o).

Most of the Tree Nettle population is located within the Norfolk Island National Park.

Tree Nettle grows in open areas on the margins of rainforest remnants where the ground is exposed. It does not grow in un-shaded areas (Gilmour & Helman 1989; Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

The species has a short life-span and grows rapidly. Seedfall probably occurs in summer and autumn (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Tree Nettle is threatened by weeds which colonise open sites rapidly. These species compete with Tree Nettle for habitat and prevent the population's expansion. On Norfolk Island, weeds that grow rapidly in open sites are Mauritius Tobacco (Solanum mauritianum), Lantana (Lantana camara), William Taylor (Eupatorium riparium) and Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).

Tree Nettle is highly palatable to stock and is at risk from browsing outside the National Park. This species is also highly susceptible to attack by plant-eating insects (Sykes & Atkinson 1988).


Norfolk Island is known to experience cyclones, particularly in the early months of the year. On average, Norfolk Island experiences cyclones at the rate of one every five years (BoM 2008).

The Norfolk Island National Park management is undertaking weed removal on the Island (Director of National Parks 2008). Weed removal has been found to be most effective when the cleared area is replanted with native species (Mosley 2001). The principle weeds threatening Tree Nettle can be removed with the use of herbicides. Tobacco, young Lantana plants and young Kikuyu can also be removed manually (Ziesing 1997).

Sykes and Atkinson (1988) recommend clearing ground to expose the soil around reproductively mature Nettle Trees just before seedfall. They also recommend fencing around plants growing outside the National Park to protect them from stock.

Strategies relevant to the conservation of Tree Nettle 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 (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].
    Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu) 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 Lantana camara (Lantana, Common Lantana, Kamara Lantana, Large-leaf Lantana, Pink Flowered Lantana, Red Flowered Lantana, Red-Flowered Sage, White Sage, Wild Sage) 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 Solanum mauritianum (Wild Tobacco Tree, Wild Tobacco Bush, Tobacco Tree) 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 Eupatorium riparium (Mist-flower) 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 Commonwealth Listing Advice for Norfolk Island Flora - 11 Critically Endangered Species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003o) [Listing Advice].

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Gilmour, P.M. & C.E. Helman (1989). A survey of quality plant communities of Norfolk Island outside the national park. Page(s) 47. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    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) (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).

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    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). Boehmeria australis subsp. australis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 25 Apr 2014 00:03:15 +1000.