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 Endangered as Triplarina nowraensis
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Recovery Plan for Triplarina nowraensis (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH), 2011a) [Recovery Plan] as Triplarina nowraensis.
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 Triplarina nowraensis.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Review of the Threatened Species Conservation Act Flora Schedules: Recommendations to the Scientific Committee: Final Summary Report December 2002 (Hogbin, P., 2002) [Report].
NSW:Triplarina nowraensis (a shrub) - endangered species listing. NSW Scientific Committee - final determination (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 1997j) [Internet].
NSW:Nowra Heath Myrtle - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005mn) [Internet].
NSW:Draft Recovery Plan for the Nowra Heath-myrtle (Triplarina nowraensis) (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 2003o) [State Recovery Plan].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Triplarina nowraensis
Scientific name Triplarina nowraensis [64544]
Family Myrtaceae:Myrtales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author A.R.Bean
Infraspecies author  
Reference Austrobaileya 4(3): 364, fig. 1H-L, map 4 (1995).
Other names Baeckea sp. 9 Nowra (F.A.Rodway s.n., 03/1925) [65668]
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.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Triplarina nowraensis

Common name: Nowra Heath-myrtle

Nowra Heath-myrtle is a small, erect shrub to 5 m tall. The branchlets have a grey, scaly bark (Bean 1995). The small paired leaves are blunt-tipped with the broadest part above the middle. Leaves are only 5 mm long by 1.7 mm wide. They have a row of large oil glands on either side of the mid-rib and are highly aromatic when crushed. The flowers are creamy-white and occur in pairs. The fruits are hemispherical and wrinkled (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The Nowra Heath-myrtle is known from five populations to the west and south-west of Nowra, New South Wales (NSW) (Bean 1995), within a 20 km radius of the town (GHD 2006). Two other locations on Nowra Creek may support populations, but the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) has not been able to confirm this (NSW NPWS 2003o).

There is evidence of two populations being lost to land clearing (at least 1500 plants) and signficant denudation (surface scraping) of habitat where a large population occurs (NSW NPWS 2003o). Hundreds of individuals survived translocation following the construction of a gas pipeline (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The Nowra Heath-myrtle has been surveyed by Parsons Brinckerhoff (2002), James (2005) and GHD Pty Ltd (2006).

The Nowra Heath-myrtle is known from five small populations in the Nowra area with a total population estimate of 70 000 plants (NSW NPWS 2003o). The following table presents a summary of Nowra Heath-myrtle populations (NSW NPWS 2003o):

Population Location  Abundance  Tenure Threats 
A Cabbage Tree Creek catchment 32 000  Crown Land (subject to land claim), private Landfill runoff, development, fire
B Sandy Creek catchment 13 000 (11 600 in nature reserve) Crown Land (subject to land claim), nature reserve Landfill runoff, development, fire
C Flat Rock Creek catchment 3500 (2300 in nature reserve) Nature reserve, private Development, fire
D Boolijong Creek 200 Crown Land (subject to land claim) Fire, track maintenance
E Bundanoon, north of the Shoalhaven River 22 000 Crown Land Fire, track maintenance, powerline maintenance

Substrate and landform

The Nowra Heath-myrtle grows in poorly drained, sandy soils on sandstone (Benson & McDougall 1998). Sites are heathland close to stream channels, swampy slopes or bedrock surfaces with impeded drainage (although two sites are at drier locations) (NSW NPWS 2003o). Sites occur 10–220 m above sea level (NSW NPWS 2003o).


Sites where the Nowra Heath-myrtle occurs are often either treeless or have a very open tree canopy due to impeded drainage (NSW NPWS 2003o). Surrounding vegetation is often eucalypt woodland (Bean 1995) comprising of Grey Gum (Eucalyptus punctata), Black Gum (E. aggregata), Hard-leaved Scribbly Gum (E. sclerophylla), Yertchuk (E. consideniana), Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita) and Red Bloodwood (E. gummifera) (NSW NPWS 2003o). Some populations are found in sedgelands dominated by Kunzea ambigua (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Nowra Heath-myrtle is commonly associated with Yellow Tea-tree (Leptospermum polygalifolium), Flaxleaf Paperbark (Melaleuca linariifolia), M. thymifolia, Twiggy Heath-myrtle (Baeckea virgata), Tick Bush (Kunzea ambigua) (Bean 1995) and Slender Wattle (Acacia elongata) (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Vegetation communities where Nowra Myrtle-heath has been found include (Mills 1998a cited in NSW NPWS 2003o): Grey Gum - Blue-leaved Stringybark (Eucalyptus agglomerata) Forest/Woodland; Hard-leaved Scribbly Gum - Casuarina Forest; Kunzea Shrubland; Sandstone Sedgeland; Sydney Peppermint - Red Bloodwood Forest; Blue-leaved Scribbly Gum - Red Bloodwood Woodland; Blue-leaved Scribbly Gum - Grey Gum Woodland; Yertchuk - Red Bloodwood Woodland; and Blue-leaved Scribbly Gum - Hakea Open Woodland.

Flowers of the Nowra Heath-myrtle have been recorded between November and December, and fruits have been recorded from December to March (Bean 1995).

Individual plants have been observed to resprout from lignotubers (swellings at the base of the stem containing dormant buds) (NSW NPWS 2003o). Reproduction from seed needs to be confirmed (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The Nowra Heath-myrtle has the tendency to dominate sites, especially along creeklines (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The Nowra Heath-myrtle occurs in association with a number of closely related species: Euryomyrtus ramosissima, Sannantha plurifloraBaeckea imbricata, B. diosmifolia, B. brevifolia and B. linifolia. Triplarina's and Baeckea's are easily distinguished by leaf size and shape (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The following table outlines the differences between the Nowra Heath-myrtle and similar species (The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust 2011):

Morphology Nowra Heath-myrtle Euryomyrtus ramosissima Sannantha pluriflora  Baeckea imbricata B. diosmifolia B. brevifolia B. linifolia 
Leaf size 3.4–5 mm long, 1.2–1.7 mm wide 3–13 mm long, 1–3 mm wide 10–30 mm long, 2.5–6 mm wide 3–6 mm long, 2.5–5 mm wide 2–6 mm long, 1–2 mm wide 1–3.5 mm long, to 1 mm wide 6–18 mm long, mostly 0.5–1 mm wide
Leaf shape obovate to oblanceolate, apex truncate linear to linear-lanceolate or narrow-ovate lanceolate to elliptic circular or broad-ovate ovate to oblong, apex obtuse narrow-ovate to oblong linear, occasionally ± terete

Proximity to vehicle tracks

The use, maintenance or widening of vehicle tracks in close proximity to Nowra Heath-myrtle populations, have the potential to result in the loss of individuals from these populations (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Inappropriate fire regimes

The Nowra Heath-myrtle occurs naturally in a fire prone environment and has consequently acquired adaptations to periodic burning (NSW NPWS 2003o). Available evidence from fires in the Flat Rock Creek catchment suggests that the survival rate of the species from a single fire event is very high (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Proximity to a landfill site

An extension of the Waste Disposal Facility on land bridging the catchments of Mundamia/Sandy and Cabbage Tree Creeks could potentially have a detrimental effect on populations of the Nowra Heath-myrtle in either or both of these catchments (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Altered hydrology

All populations of this species, particularly where they occur in close proximity to creeks, receive runoff and could potentially be affected by land use changes taking place elsewhere in the catchment. While studies by Hogbin (2002 cited in NSW NPWS 2003o) have shown that adult plants of the species are highly tolerant of elevated nutrient levels, seedling plants were shown to be more sensitive (NSW NPWS 2003o). There is also the possibility of increased competition from weed species adversely affecting reproduction and survival of the Nowra Heath-myrtle (NSW NPWS 2003o).

The Nowra Bomaderry Structure Plan (Concept Plan Stage) has identified areas in Mundamia/Sandy and Cabbage Tree Creek catchments to be investigated for potential future urban development and could have hydrology implications to the Nowra Heath-myrtle (NSW NPWS 2003o). 

Future development

The State Government (Planning NSW and NSW Roads and Traffic Authority) and Shoalhaven City Council have identified a Western Bypass Corridor which passes through part of population A of the Nowra Heath-myrtle (NSW NPWS 2003o). While this road is not expected to be built until the 2020s, it is important that any proposal of this nature be adequately assessed and impacts minimised (NSW NPWS 2003o).

EPBC Referral 2006/3056

Up to 60 plants were removed while a gas-fired power facility at Bamarang was developed (GHD Pty Ltd 2006). Actions were required to be undertaken in a particular manner to avoid significant impact (EPBC Referral 2006).

Draft recovery plan

NSW OEH has developed a draft recovery plan for the Nowra Heath-myrtle (NSW NPWS 2003o). This document lists recovery objectives for the species and includes recovery actions to meet the objectives (NSW NPWS 2003o). Actions include protection from threats, implementation of a monitoring program and inclusion of habitat in conservation reserves (NSW NPWS 2003o).

Mitigation at Bamarang gas-fired power facility

The following measures were to be implemented to minimise the impacts of the Bamarang gas-fired power facility on the Nowra Heath-myrtle (EPBC Referral 2006):

  • Nowra Heath-myrtle plants occurring along the transmission route, and potentially affected by construction and maintenance of the transmission line, will be mapped prior to detailed design and route selection for the transmission line. Final design and construction will ensure that pole placement, clearing and associated access minimises requirements for removal of individual plants. Branches will be lopped, in preference to removal of the plants, if this is possible in meeting statutory safety clearances.
  • Nowra Heath-myrtle plants and habitat located adjacent to construction areas will be fenced off and signposted during the construction period to avoid inadvertent damage from construction machinery and personnel. 
  • Plants that must be removed, and that are less than two metres high, will be translocated and maintained in greenhouse conditions, as required, and will be replanted in suitable habitat as part of rehabilitation and landscaping works.
  • Signage will be erected in areas where the transmission line passes through populations of Nowra Heath-myrtle to alert maintenance workers to the presence of a protected threatened plant and the need to avoid slashing, lopping or removal of individual shrubs, unless the shrubs encroach on minimum safety clearances. 

Management documents relevant to Triplarina nowraensis include:

  • Draft Recovery Plan for the Nowra Heath-myrtle (Triplarina nowraensis) (NSW NPWS 2003o).

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
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006zm) [Internet].
Pollution:Pollution:Changes to water and sediment flows leading to erosion, siltation and pollution Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006zm) [Internet].
Protected status:Protected status:Lack of secure conservation land tenure Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006zm) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006zm) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006zm) [Internet].

Bean, A.R. (1995). Reinstatement and revision of Triplarina Raf. (Myrtaceae). Austrobaileya. 4(3):353-367.

Benson, D. & L. McDougall (1998). Ecology of Sydney plant species: Part 6 Dicotyledon family Myrtaceae. Cunninghamia. 5(4):809-987. Sydney: NSW Royal Botanic Gardens.

EPBC Referral (2006). EPBC Referral 2006/3056. Decision that action is not a controlled action provided it is undertaken in a particular manner.

GHD Pty Ltd (2006). Report for Bamarang Gas-fired Power Facility: Ecological Assessment Addendum.

James, T. (2005). Proposed construction of electricity transmission easement line west of Nowra - preliminary flora survey. Draft preliminary report prepared for Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia Pty Ltd.

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (1997j). Triplarina nowraensis (a shrub) - endangered species listing. NSW Scientific Committee - final determination. [Online]. Available from:

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (2005mn). Nowra Heath Myrtle - profile. [Online]. Available from:

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2003o). Draft Recovery Plan for the Nowra Heath-myrtle (Triplarina nowraensis). [Online]. Available from:

Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia Pty Ltd (2002). Proposed Gas Turbine Power Station at Bamarang, Nowra - Preliminary Flora and Fauna Assessment. Prepared for Delta Electricity.

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust (2011). PlantNET. [Online]. The Plant Information Network System of The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia (version 2). Available from:

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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). Triplarina nowraensis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:57:01 +1000.