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Species profile—Medicosma elliptica


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → RutaceaeMedicosma elliptica

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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Medicosma elliptica T.G.Hartley
WildNet taxon ID
Alternate name(s)
Bulburin medicosma
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) status
Back on Track (BoT) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Short Notes
BRI 246984, status annotated by author
Medicosma elliptica is a shrub or small tree to 7 m high. The branchlets are hairless. The leaves occur in pairs, which are placed opposite to each other along the stem, and have a hairless leaf stalk that is 4 to 10 mm long and 1 to 1.5 mm wide. The leaf blades are also hairless, slightly leathery and conspicuously oil-dotted. The leaves are roughly oval shaped, 4.5 to 12.5 cm long by 1.8 to 6 cm wide, and about 2 to 3 times as long as wide, usually widest in the middle or sometimes just above the middle. The leaf tip varies from being sharply pointed to rounded, usually with a shallow notch at the tip. The flowers arise from the angles between the leaves and the stem and are in clusters of 2 to 4 flowers, they are virtually stalkless. The flowers are 5.5 to 6 mm long, the sepals are densely hairy and overlap at their edges for about half their length; they are broadly egg shaped or roughly circular and about 2 mm long. The petals are white, densely covered in soft hairs on their lower surface and are narrowly oval-shaped, and 4.5 to 5.5 mm long. The fruits are hairless, wrinkled follicles and are about 7 to 9 mm long. (Hartley, 1985)
Medicosma elliptica is closely to M. obovata, it differs mainly in the leaf shape. Medicosma obovata is usually obovate and about 1.5 to 2 times as long as wide. M. elliptica is usually elliptic or elliptic obovate and is 2 to 3 times longer than wide. (Hartley 1985).
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Medicosma elliptica is known from Many Peaks and Dawes Ranges in central eastern Queensland, at 200-580 m above sea level (Halford, 1998). The species has been collected at the Boyne Logging Area, upper Boyne River and Granite Creek areas of SF 391 and SF 67 (Queensland Herbarium). Collecting notes describe the species as locally common at these sites. In 1998, this species was estimated to have a total population of 100 to 250 individuals, over a range of approximately 20 km with an area of occupancy of less than 50 ha (Halford, 1998). The areas of Forest Reserve encompassing the catchments of Boyne River and Granite Creek are now Bulburin National Park. This species occurs within the Burnett, Mary and Fitzroy (Queensland) Natural Resource Management Regions. (DSEWP).
Distributional limits
-24.5083333, 151.4777777
-24.5900849, 151.5427295
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
Medicosma elliptica occurs in mountainous terrain on rocky, inclined hillsides, in complex notophyll vineforest of Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) and Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) (Halford, 1998). These areas were previously logged for Hoop Pine and partially cleared for the establishment of Hoop Pine plantations (Halford, 1998).
Medicosma elliptica has been recorded flowering between December and April. The fruits are produced in July. The seeds of Medicosma species are thought to be dispersed by ants, as the seeds closely resemble those of Boronia, a plant group known to be ant-dispersed (Pollock, 1996).
Threatening processes

The main potential threats to Medicosma elliptica include fire and invasion by the exotic weed lantana (Lantana camara). All stages of the life cycle of M. elliptica are thought to be threatened by fire, and it is not known whether trees are capable of resprouting following fire, so a total fire exclusion policy should be practised (Halford, 1998). Disturbance caused by previous logging activities in M. elliptica habitat has promoted the establishment of lantana. (Halford, 1998).
Status notes
Medicosma elliptica is listed as Vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Management recommendations
Regional and local priority actions to support the recovery of Medicosma elliptica are outlined by DSEWPC (2012). A summary of these include: avoid habitat loss, disturbance and modification (e.g. monitor known populations to identify key threats, monitor the progress of recovery; identify populations of high conservation priority); increase conservation information (raise awareness of M. elliptic in the local community); manage fire (develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy for M. elliptica to exclude fires); control invasive weeds (implement the threat abatement strategies for the control of Lantana; identify and remove weeds in the local area, which could become a threat to M. elliptica); and enable recovery of additional sites and/or populations (e.g. undertake appropriate seed collection and storage, investigate the options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations) (DSEWPC; 2012).
Other recommendations for the protection of M. elliptica and its habitat include the establishment of a protective barrier (0.23 ha) that excludes clearing (Pollock, 1996).
Occurs in the following Queensland pastoral district: Port Curtis.
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) (2012). Medicosma elliptica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Accessed 16/03/2012.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2007). South-East Queensland Forests Agreement, Accessed 17/07/2008.
Halford, D. (1998). Survey of Threatened Plant Species in South East Queensland Biogeographical Region. Queensland CRA/RFA Steering Committee, Department of Environment, Brisbane.
Hartley, T.G. (1985). A revision of the genus Medicosma (Rutaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 33 (1).
Pollock, A.B. (1996). Medicosma elliptica Species Management Profile. Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane.
Queensland Herbarium (2011). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 21/07/2011.
Profile author
Ronald Booth (15/03/2012)

Other resources

Species Profile and Threats Database (SPRAT)
The Australasian Virtual Herbarium (AVH)
Atlas of Living Australia

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
25 January 2022
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