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Species profile—Alyxia sharpei (Apocynaceae)

Classification

Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → ApocynaceaeAlyxia sharpei

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Species details

Kingdom
Plantae (plants)
Class
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Family
Apocynaceae
Species
Alyxia sharpei
Taxonomy Author
P.I.Forst.
Nature Conservation Act (NCA) status
Least concern
Back on Track (BoT) status
Low
Endemicity
Native
Description
Alyxia sharpei is an erect rigid shrub growing to 3 m high, which exudes a white latex from cut surfaces of leaves and stems. The leafy internodes are up to 30 mm long and 2 mm in diameter, rugose with dense, short indumentum. The leaves are whorled in groups of 3 to 5, with a short petiole 1-2.3 mm long. The lamina is linear-acicular, up to 40 mm long and 0.8 to 1 mm wide, thin-coriaceous. The margins are entire and strongly recurved, forming a cylinder, with scattered to dense indumentum, obscure leaf venation and the abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces are both grey-green in colour. The leaf tips are long, tapering gradually toward a sharp, rigid point. The inflorescence is a cyme, which is up to 1 mm long, reduced and congested. The peduncle is up to 1 mm long and 1mm diameter, with a sparse to dense indumentum. The bracts are linear, 1 to 1.3 mm long, 0.2 to 0.3 mm wide, with a dense indumentum. The flowers are 8 to 9 mm long by 5 to 6 mm in diameter, on pedicels up to 2 mm long. The sepals are lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate, 1.8 to 2.5 mm long, 0.3 to 1 mm wide, with a sparse to dense indumentum. The corolla is mainly cream in colour with a purple to cream tube, 5 to 6.5 mm long by 1 to 1.3 mm diameter, externally hairless, internally with sparse hairs below the anthers. The orange-red fruit is globose-oblong in shape and measures 9 to 10 mm long by 5 to 6 mm in diameter (Forster, 1992).
A. sharpei is the most distinctive of the Alyxia species. With its linear-acicular, revolute, concolorous leaves, and generally sparse to dense indumentum. While there are obvious affinities to the highly variable A. ruscifolia, the lamina of that species is rarely completely revolute, and the abaxial and adaxial leaf surface is quite discolorous (Forster, 1992).
Distribution
Alyxia sharpei has been recorded from 19 populations in south-east Queensland. The species occurs as far north as Mount Murchinson Nature Reserve and Degalgil Forest Reserve, Degalgil State Forest, Mount Coulston State Forest (common), and Eurimbula National Park. Other locations include Woowoonga Range State Forest (common), Wide Bar State Forest, Elliott River State Forest, Beninbi State Forest, Bingera National Park (occasional to common) and the most southern population in Gundiah, Barambah Creek Gorge and the summit of Mount Toondahra (rare) (Queensland Herbarium, 2011).
Habitat
Alyxia sharpei occurs from near sea level to 480 m asl. It grows in araucarian microphyll vineforest on dark brown soil, or complex notophyll vineforest on alluvium adjacent to mangrove swamps. It also grows in tall, open woodland in association with Eucalyptus suffulgens, Corymbia tessellaris, C. citriodora and Backhousia angustifolia on clay-loam soils derived from basalt. Also recorded in notophyll scrub characterised by Archidendropsis thozetiana, closed forest dominated by Syncarpia glomulifera and Araucaria cunninghamii dominated rainforest on sandy flats (Wang, 1997; Queensland Herbariums, 2011).
Reproduction
Flowering has been recorded in April and July-September. The fruiting period is March to April and June-August, immature fruit has been collected in September (Queensland Herbarium, 2011).
Threatening processes
Alyxia sharpei is located primarily within state forest where it ranges from locally rare to common. The shrub has also been recorded from private land and 2 protected areas. The State forests and timber reserves on which the plant occurs represent important sites for the conservation of the species. While there are no substantial threatening processes recorded in the literature, possible threatening processes include inappropriate fire regimes, degradation of habitat by weed invasion (Lantana), destruction of habitat by clearing and disturbance of open forest/woodland habitat due to timber harvesting (Wang, 1997).
Management recommendations
Protective measures for the conservation of Alyxia sharpei and for the maintenance of the habitat include: establishment of a protective buffer (0.25ha) which excludes clearing, with all A. sharpei at least 25 m inside the buffer; to minimise risk of fire damage to A. sharpei, fuel management should reduce the risk of rainforest being burnt; and where practical eradicate weeds such as lantana (Wang, 1997).
References
Forster, P.I. (1992). A taxonomic revision of Alyxia (Apocynaceae) in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany, 5: 563-565.
Queensland Herbarium (2011). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 21/07/2011.
Wang, J. (1997). Alyxia sharpei Species Management Profile. Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane.
Profile author
Lynise Wearne
Profile date
2012-07-10
Other resources
Atlas of Living Australia

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Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 October 2014
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