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 Vulnerable as Graptophyllum ilicifolium
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008qf) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Graptophyllum ilicifolium.
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Vulnerable (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Graptophyllum ilicifolium
Scientific name Graptophyllum ilicifolium [8601]
Family Acanthaceae:Scrophulariales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (F.Muell.) Benth.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Flora Australiensis 4 (16 Dec. 1868) 552.
Other names Graptophyllum earlii var. ilicifolium [29412]
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

Scientific name: Graptophyllum ilicifolium

Common name: Holly-leaved Graptophyllum

Other common name: Mt Blackwood Holly

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum is characterised by relatively large red flowers (30–35 mm long); large leaves (6–11 cm long and 4–5.5 cm wide) which possess long spinose marginal teeth; leaf pairs that are greatly unequal in size; glabrous branchlets; the absence of condensed axillary branchlets and the presence of axillary spines, but these are rarely seen on herbarium material (Bean & Sharpe 1991).

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum is endemic to central coast Queensland from the Mackay area and a disjunct population at Miriam Vale. Records have occurred at Mt Adder, Mt Blackwood, Mt De Moleyns, Mt Jukes, Niddoe Creek and Miriam Vale (Bean 1992a; Shapcott 2002b; Queensland Herbarium 2008 cited in TSSC 2008qf), and it is likely that each of these sites have more than one subpopulation.

Reports of Holly-leaved Graptophyllum from Port Douglas and the Rockhampton area (Barker 1986; Bean & Sharpe 1991) are misidentifications.

Populations at Mt Blackwood and Mt Adder are within national parks, although at least part of one population at Mt Adder extends beyond the park boundary and onto freehold land. One subpopulation at Mt De Moleyns is on freehold land while the land tenure for the other site is unknown (Shapcott 2002b). The subpopulation at Miriam Vale occurs in remnant vegetation on private property which is protected by the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Queensland) (TSSC 2008qf).

There is no quantitative population data available for the Holly-leaved Graptophyllum, however, it is reported to be abundant at sites where it has been observed. One subpopulation has been described as having "a couple of hundred plants" (Queensland Herbarium 2008, cited in TSSC 2008qf).

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum grows along rocky drainage lines (TSSC 2008qf) in areas with the following substrate (Bean 1992a; Bureau of Mineral Resources 1964; Champion 1990):

  • the Mt Jukes area consists predominantly of quartz and feldspar
  • Mt Blackwood is largely composed of Blackwood Quartz Syenite
  • Mt Adder, Mt De Moleyns and the east section of Mt Blackwood National Park are comprised of sedimentary rocks.

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum occurs in an area of vegetation consisting of tall to very tall mixed notophyll forest. Canopy species include Argyrodendron spp., Flindersia schottiana and Cryptocarya hypospodia. The mid-stratum contains such species as Bosistoa pentacocca, Cryptocarya bidwillii and Diospyros hebecarpa. Lower stratum species include Atractocarpus fitzalanii, Memecylon pauciflorum var. pauciflorum, Polyalthia nitidissima and Acronychia laevis (Queensland Herbarium n.d.).

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum flowers have been recorded in July–September (Queensland Herbarium n.d.). Fruits develop quickly and have been recorded in April, July and December, plants usually have fruits at different stages for several months (Queensland Herbarium n.d.). Aerial stems have been observed to develop adventitious roots and vegetatively layer (Queensland Herbarium n.d.).

In spite of its limited distribution, Holly-leaved Graptophyllum has relatively high levels of genetic diversity (Shapcott 2002b). There is also high genetic diversity between this species and other Graptophyllum, which limits likelihood of hybridisation between wild and cultivated populations (Shapcott 2007).

The main potential threats to Holly-leaved Graptophyllum arise from its restricted distribution and being confined in the landscape to narrow creek margins. Competition from introduced weeds such as Lantana (Lantana camara) could threaten the habitat and possibly allow incursion of fires due to fuel build-up (W.J.F. McDonald 2008, pers. comm., cited in TSSC 2008qf).

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum research priorities have been identified in the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (TSSC 2008qf) and include:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program, or if existing programs occur, support and enhance these where applicable.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations/occurrences/remnants.

Holly-leaved Graptophyllum priority actions have been identified in the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (TSSC 2008qf) and include:

  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Identify populations of high conservation priority.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Minimise adverse impacts from land use at known sites.
  • Protect populations of the listed species through the development of conservation agreements or covenants.
  • Identify, remove, and prevent introduction of weeds in the local area, which could become a threat to Holly-leaved Graptophyllum, using appropriate methods.
  • Implement management plan for the control of Lantana in the region.
  • Ensure chemicals and other mechanisms used to eradicate weeds do not have a significant adverse impact on Holly-leaved Graptophyllum.
  • Develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for Holly-leaved Graptophyllum.
  • Provide maps of known occurrences to local and state Rural Fire Services and seek inclusion of mitigative measures in bush fire risk management plans, risk register and/or operation maps.
  • Undertake appropriate seed and collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.
  • Implement national translocation protocols (Vallee et al. 2004) if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible.

Documents that may assist in the management of the Holly-leaved Graptophyllum include Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (TSSC 2008qf) and Weeds of National Significance: Lantana (Lantana camara) (ARMCANZ 2001a).

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:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Graptophyllum ilicifolium in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ki) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008qf) [Conservation Advice].
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) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008qf) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008qf) [Conservation Advice].

Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ), Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Forestry Ministers (2001a). Weeds of National Significance: Lantana (Lantana camara) Strategic Plan. [Online]. Available from:

Barker, R.M. (1986). A taxonomic revision of Australian Acanthaceae. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 9:1-286.

Bean, A.R. (1992a). Pioneer Peaks National Parks. Vegetation survey. Townsville, Queensland: Parks & Wildlife Service.

Bean, A.R. & P.R. Sharpe (1991). Notes on Graptophyllum Nees (Acanthaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya. 3:549-553.

Bureau of Mineral Resources (1964). Australian Geological Series, Mackay, 1:250 000 scale map sheet SF55-8. Commonwealth of Australia.

Champion, D.C. (1990). Blacks Beach Get-Together. Society for Growing Australia Plants.

Queensland Herbarium (2008b). Unpublished data.

Shapcott, A. (2002b). Conservation genetics of Graptophyllum sp in SE Qld. Maroochydore: University of the Sunshine Coast.

Shapcott, A. (2007). Does Species Range and Rarity Affect Population Genetics? A Case Study of Four Graptophyllum Species from Queensland, Australia. Biotropica. 39(4):447-458.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008qf). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Graptophyllum ilicifolium. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

Vallee, L., T. Hogbin, L. Monks, B. Makinson, M. Matthes & M. Rossetto (2004). Guidelines for the translocation of threatened plants in Australia - Second Edition. Canberra, ACT: Australian Network for Plant Conservation.

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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). Graptophyllum ilicifolium in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:30:32 +1000.