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 Vulnerable as Nematolepis wilsonii
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan] as Nematolepis wilsonii.
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 Nematolepis wilsonii.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
VIC:Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 90 Revised 2008 - Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii (Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE), 2008x) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list) as Phebalium wilsonii
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Vulnerable (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Nematolepis wilsonii [64938]
Family Rutaceae:Sapindales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author (N.G.Walsh & Albr.) Paul G.Wilson
Infraspecies author  
Reference Nuytsia 12(2): 280 (1998).
Other names Phebalium wilsonii [18265]
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: Nematolepis wilsonii

Common name: Shiny Nematolepis

Other names: Shining Nematolepis

Conventionally accepted as Nematolepis wilsonii (CHAH 2010), the species was previously known as Phebalium wilsonii (Murphy et al. 2006; Wilson 1998b).

The Shiny Nematolepis is an upright shrub or small tree growing to 10 m tall, with mottled bark and branchlets densely covered in small wart-like silver to rusty protuberances. Leaves are narrowly elliptic (oval) to lance shaped, 30–80 mm long and 5–15 mm wide. The upper surface is glossy dark green and smooth, with the lower surface covered in silvery scales. Inflorescences (flowerheads) arise from the leaf axils, with 1–9 small, starry white flowers up to 10 mm wide with yellow anthers and scaly pedicels and petals (Bennett 2008; Duretto 1999c; Walsh & Albrecht 1988).

The Shiny Nematolepis is endemic to south-central Victoria where it is known from two locations in the O'Shannessy Reservoir water catchment, north-east of Melbourne, in the Yarra Ranges National Park (Murphy et al. 2006; Vic. DSE 2008x). An 1892 collection from 'Wood's Point', which is approximately 35 km to the east of the known population, may be erroneous, and the species has not been recorded from this area since (Murphy et al. 2006).

The first Shiny Nematolepis population has approximately 200 000 seedlings (CHABG 2012; Kuhlman 2011) that germinated following the 2009 Black Saturday fires. All of the previous 500 adult plants in the area were killed by the fire (Murphy et al. 2006).

The second population was found by Parks Victoria staff surveying for the Broad-toothed Rat (Mastacomys fuscus) after the 2009 fires. This population includes 13 mature plants and numerous seedlings (Bennett & Coulson 2011; Kew RBG undated).

The known population of Shiny Nematolepis occurs in the Yarra Ranges National Park, in a proclaimed water catchment area, managed by Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water (Murphy et al. 2006).

The habitat of Shiny Nematolepis occurs in a narrow ecotone between tall open eucalypt forest of Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and cool-temperate rainforest of Southern Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) (Murphy et al. 2006; Walsh undated). Soils are deep, well-structured mountain loams derived from granite. The species grows at around 720 m above sea level in a high rainfall area (Murphy et al. 2006; Vic. DSE 2008x; Walsh & Albrecht 1988).

The Shiny Nematolepis flowers from August to October (Yarra Ranges Shire Council 2009). The species is most likely to be a disturbance specialist, able to recover or recruit from recurrent natural disturbance such as wildfire. The species showed abundant seed germination and seedling growth along the disturbed margins of a fire access track that bisects the population, whereas in the undisturbed forest close by no seedling establishment was noted. The species may also survive wildfires by resprouting from perennial buds protected on underground lignotubers, as do Musk Daisy-bush (Olearia argophylla) and Blanket-leaf (Bedfordia arborescens) that co-occur with Shiny Nematolepis (Cameron unpub. cited in Murphy et al. 2006; Gill 1981 cited in Murphy et al. 2006; Walsh & Albrecht 1988).

The Shiny Nematolepis can be distinguished from Satinwood (Nematolepis squamea subsp. squamea) by the branchlets covered in small protuberances, glossier leaves and scaly petals and ovary. Also, Satinwood is restricted in Victoria to the Otway Ranges (Vic. DSE 2008x).

The main threats to the Shiny Nematolepis are as follows (Bennett 2008; Murphy et al. 2006; Vic. DSE 2008x; Walsh undated):

Damage by feral deer

Sambar (Cervis unicolor) numbers are increasing in Victoria, including in the habitat of the Shiny Nematolepis. Sambar rub against trees to remove the velvet on their antlers, wearing away the cambium from the trunk and effectively ringbarking trees. Wounds in stems also create access points for fungal infections or borers to enter plants. Deer also trample populations, inhibiting regeneration by destroying seedlings, and 'thrash' (rubbing and scent marking) larger seedlings which leads to high levels of defoliation. Up to 10% of the known population had been killed by deer activity prior to the 2009 fire.

Weed invasion

Weed invasion, mainly Common Catsear (Hypochoeris radicata) currently occurs on the verges of the road that bisects the population and may be a threat to regeneration.

Road maintenance

Slashing of the roadside at the site may promote a level of recruitment in the species, however too frequent slashing may deplete the soil seed bank, encourage the spread of weed species that compete with Shiny Nematolepis seedlings, and/or introduce Myrtle Wilt disease that kills Southern Myrtle Beech trees. Changes to the surrounding plant community with the lack of overstorey species would alter the microclimate which could expose the Shiny Nematolepis to greater risks. There is also a greater risk of direct damage to plants by roadside vegetation clearing.


The 2009 Black Sunday fires saw the total population of Shiny Nematolepis, and surrounding areas burnt. All plants were killed by the fires. Seedling recruitment happened much slower than anticipated, however approximately 200 000 seedlings were recorded at the original site of the species by December 2011. Given the extremely limited distribution of the species and apparently slow recruitment based on environmental conditions, the risk from too frequent fires to the Shiny Nematolepis is great.

Impact of native species

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) were noted to cause severe damage to mature plants when stripping bark and wood away in searches for wood borers. However, the activity often led to better health of the individual plants over time with the loss of the borer infestations.

The National Recovery Plan for the Shiny Nematolepis (Murphy et al. 2006) includes the following specific objectives of recovery:

  • acquire accurate information for conservation status assessments
  • identify habitat that is critical, common or potential
  • manage threats to populations
  • identify key biological functions
  • determine the growth rates and viability of populations
  • establish populations in cultivation
  • build community support for conservation.

Previous management actions for the Shiny Nematolepis include:

  • Habitat surveyed in detail in 2005, with information collected on the size, distribution and health of nine patches (Vic. DSE 2008x).
  • Deer-proof fences erected and effective at excluding Sambar Deer (Bennett & Coulson 2011).
  • Seed collected by the Royal Botanic Gardens, ex situ propagation commenced and 250 plants being grown awaiting a suitable recipient site (Vic. DSE 2008x). Following the 2009 fire, Walsh (undated) notes that 150 struck cuttings and seedlings were planted and fenced at four locations when recruitment from the soil seed bank seemed unlikely. Ongoing monitoring will occur at these sites to assess survivorship rates of seedlings and cuttings.

Management documents relevant to the Shiny Nematolepis are at the start of the profile.

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) Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Cervus unicolor (Sambar) Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan (Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe, 2006) [Recovery Plan].

Bennett, A. (2008). The impacts of sambar (Cervus unicolor) in the Yarra Ranges National Park. [Online]. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Melbourne. Available from:

Bennett, A. & G. Coulson (2011). The impacts of Sambar Cervus unicolor on the threatened Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii. Pacific Conservation Biology. 16:251-260.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from:

Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) (2012). Australian Seedbank Partnership - Shining Nematolepsis back from the brink. [Online]. Available from:

Duretto, M.F. (1999c). Rutaceae. In: Walsh, N.G. & Entwisle, T.J., eds. Flora of Victoria. 4:153-197. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew RBG) (undated). Nematolepis wilsonii (shining nematolepis). [Online]. Available from:

Kuhlman, A. (2011). Museum Victoria Blog - Renaissance for rare plant. [Online]. Available from:

Murphy, A.H., M. White & J. Downe (2006). Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii - National Recovery Plan. [Online]. Available from:

Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE) (2005a). Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria - 2005. [Online]. East Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Sustainability and Environment. Available from:$FILE/Advisory%20List%20of%20Rare%20or%20Threatened%20Plants%20in%20Victoria%20-%202005.pdf.

Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE) (2008x). Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 90 Revised 2008 - Shiny Nematolepis Nematolepis wilsonii. [Online]. Available from:$File/090+Shiny+Nematolepis+2008.pdf.

Walsh, N. (undated). Kew Gardens - Adopt a seed - Save a Species Conserving the World's plants at the Kew's Millenium Seed Bank. [Online]. Available from:

Walsh, N.G. & D.E. Albrecht (1988). Three new species of Phebalium Vent. sect. Eriostemoides Endl. (Rutaceae) from south-eastern Australia. Muelleria. 6(6):399-409.

Wilson, P.G. (1998b). New species and nomenclatural changes in Phebalium and related genera (Rutaceae). Nuytsia. 12(2):267-288.

Yarra Ranges Shire Council (2009). Yarra Ranges, local plant directory Nematolepsis wilsonii. [Online]. 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). Nematolepis wilsonii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 2 Sep 2014 07:44:20 +1000.