11 Critically Endangered Norfolk Island Flora Species

Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) on a public nomination for a species listing on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

1. Scientific name, common name (where appropriate), major taxon group

11 Norfolk Island Flora Species:

  • Abutilon julianae (a shrub)
  • Achyranthes margaretarum (a shrub)
  • Boehmeria australis var. australis (Tree Nettle, Nettletree)
  • Calystegia affinis (a creeper)
  • Clematis dubia (a creeper)
  • Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus (Phillip Island Wheatgrass)
  • Euphorbia norfolkiana (a shrub)
  • Hibiscus insularis (Phillip Island Hibiscus)
  • Melicytus latifolius (Norfolk Island Mahoe)
  • Myoporum obscurum (Popwood)
  • Phreatia limenophylax (Norfolk Island Phreatia)

2. National Context

These species are endemic to Norfolk Island, except Calystegia affinis which is also known from Lord Howe Island. None of these species are listed under the EPBC Act.

3. How judged by TSSC in relation to the EPBC Act criteria.

TSSC judges the species to be eligible for listing as critically endangered under the EPBC Act. The justification against the criteria is as follows:

Criterion 1 - Decline in numbers

Quantitative data has not been presented against this criterion.

Criterion 2 - Geographic distribution

Quantitative data has not been presented against this criterion.

Criterion 3 - Population size and decline in numbers or distribution

Quantitative data has not been presented against this criterion.

Criterion 4 - Population size

The number of mature individuals is extremely low with the total population recorded during recent surveys numbering less than 50 for each species. In the case of Calystegia affinis, this includes two thickets (considered to be two individuals plants) known on Lord Howe Island. The number of mature individuals for each species is as follows:

Species Number of mature individuals
Abutilon julianae (a shrub) <50
Achyranthes margaretarum (a shrub) <20
Boehmeria australis var. australis (Tree Nettle, Nettletree) 33
Calystegia affinis (a creeper) 45
Clematis dubia (a creeper) 15
Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus (Phillip Island Wheatgrass) <50
Euphorbia norfolkiana (a shrub) 38
Hibiscus insularis (Phillip Island Hibiscus) <50
Melicytus latifolius (Norfolk Island Mahoe) 17
Myoporum obscurum (Popwood) 7
Phreatia limenophylax (Norfolk Island Phreatia) 5

Therefore, these species are eligible for listing as critically endangered under this criterion.

Criterion 5 - Probability of extinction in the wild

Quantitative data has not been presented against this criterion.

4. Conclusion

The number of mature individuals recorded for these species, less than 50, is extremely low. These species are eligible for listing as critically endangered under criterion 4.

5. Recommendation

TSSC recommends that the list referred to in section 178 of the EPBC Act be amended by including in the list in the critically endangered category:

  • Abutilon julianae (a shrub)
  • Achyranthes margaretarum (a shrub)
  • Boehmeria australis var. australis (Tree Nettle, Nettletree)
  • Calystegia affinis (a creeper)
  • Clematis dubia (a creeper)
  • Elymus multiflorus var. kingianus (Phillip Island Wheatgrass)
  • Euphorbia norfolkiana (a shrub)
  • Hibiscus insularis (Phillip Island Hibiscus)
  • Melicytus latifolius (Norfolk Island Mahoe)
  • Myoporum obscurum (Popwood)
  • Phreatia limenophylax (Norfolk Island Phreatia)