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Leguminosae: Streblorrhiza speciosa

Cunningham, A. , 28


Streblorrhiza speciosa

Original Distribution

Australia, Norfolk Island, Philip Island

Extinction Data

ICUN 1978 = Extinct 1997= Endgangered


Illustration: Lindley (1841)Woody vine. Leaves dark green, glossy, pinnate, 5-7 leaflets. Flowers 2-5 cm long, standard and wings rose-pink, keel pale green. Pods 8 cm long; Seeds 6, dull green with red spots. This species is one of the three endemic plants of Philip Island. Only one, a Hibiscus, is extinct. The stems of Streblorrhiza have persistent pith, upright ray parenchyma cells, and the vessels are solitary or in radial multiples, with single perforations, no helical thickenings, their pits are alternate and vestured, and they sometimes have grooves interconnecting pit apertures. An important fruit character of Streblorrhiza is the orientation of the fibers in a single direction

Specimen Type (Y/N)


Kew Herbcat Barcode Number



Cunningham, A.

Collector Number


Other Information

The species was depicted by Ferdinand Bauer and described by Endlicher in 1833. The oldest collection was made in 1830 by Allan Cunningham, and the specimen is preserved at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. F. Bauer collected a fruiting specimen in about 1805. No later collections are known, but the species was mentioned by Laing (1915). The plant was in cultivation in European glasshouses were it was quit popular in the 19th century. The plant could be easily propagated by cutting, but it needed a free root run for it to flower. This later aspect may be the reason it fell out of flavor, as is it was difficult to get into flower. The colonization of the nearby island of Norfolk by the descendants of the Bounty survivors in 1856 and the earlier settlement of a convict colony proved fatal. Both the convict and the Bounty descendants released goats, pigs and rabbits on the tiny 2.5 Km˛ Island. When Captain Cook in 1774, first saw the island it was covered in scrubs and dense forest, by the 1830 this vegetation was confided to the valley and erosion has begun. Today the island is almost devoid of its original vegetation. The species was last seen in 1926. The species became extinct in 1860 in its native habit, but the plant was known to have been cultivated

Information Sources

 Balunt, J.L. (1990) Extinct species of the world. David Betterman, Auckland, New Zealand.Given, D.R. (1975). Conservation of rare and threatened plant taxa in New Zealand – some principles. Proc. New Zealand Ecol. Soc. 22: 1-6.Leigh, J.H., Briggs, J. & Hartley, W. (1981) Rare or threatened Australian Plants. Australian plants National Parks and Wildlife Service. Special publication nr 7. pp 124.Lindley, J. (1841) Clianthus carneus. Edward’s Botanical Register 27: t.51.Lucas, G. & Sygne, H. (1978) The IUCN plant red data book. IUCN, Morges, Switzerland. Pp. 293Melville, R (1969) The endemics of Phillip Island. Biological Conservation 2: 170-171.Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. & MacKinsen, A. (1998). The world list of threatened trees. World Conservation Press. Cambridge.Tinker, J. (1974) Bedreigde planten. in (Sitwell, N. )Hoeveel zijn er noch over. Elsevier, Amsterdam. pp.116.Tuner, J.S. et al . (1968) The conservation of Norfolk Island. Australia conservation foundation special publication 1. pp34.Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds) (1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, Extinct Plant Species of the World IUCN Survey and preliminary report: April 1989