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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008yh) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (43) (14/08/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006g) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory-Typhonium taylori (Kerrigan, R. & I. Cowie, 2006c) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
NT: Listed as Endangered (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list)
Scientific name Typhonium taylori [65904]
Family Araceae:Arales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author A. Hay
Infraspecies author  
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: Typhonium taylori

Typhonium taylori is a small, deciduous, geophytic (propagated by buds on underground bulbs or tubers) herb with a tuber growing to approximately 1 cm in diameter. The leaf blade is subdeltoid (triangular) to elliptic or narrowly lanceolate (lance-shaped) and grows to 4.5 cm in length. The flower is accompanied by a leaf-like structure called a spathe, which partially encompasses the flower. The spathe grows to approximately 6.5 cm in length. The spadix (spike with a fleshy axis) is filiform (thread-like), exceeding the spathe by about 1 cm, and projects more or less horizontally from the spathe mouth (DIPE 2006).

Typhonium taylori is endemic to the Northern Territory, where it is currently known from only two collections from the Howard River floodplain in the Darwin rural area. Both collections are likely to have come from the same population in the Howard Springs sand sheet area (DIPE 2006).

The ephemeral and cryptic (difficult to find/locate) nature of this species suggests that its distribution may be underestimated. However, extensive survey has been carried out in its known habitat during the fruiting period of this species, and no additional localities were found (DIPE 2006).

The extent of occurrence of T. taylori is estimated to be 0.2 km² (DIPE 2006). There is no quantitative data from which to predict future changes in the extent of occurrence of this species. However, the known habitat and region is potentially threatened by sand mining and other activities (DIPE 2006).

The area of occupancy of the species is estimated to be 2 km². This estimate was calculated using the precautionary principle and extrapolated from the estimated extent of occurrence (DIPE 2006).

Despite the seasonally dormant and cryptic nature of Typhonium taylori, it is considered adequately surveyed based on the strong survey effort in the area. While more populations may exist, the current known populations indicate this species has a restricted distribution and abundance (DIPE 2006). A targeted survey, undertaken in the Howard River floodplain as part of a biodiversity assessment survey, did not locate any additional populations (Cowie 2002).

There are insufficient data to accurately estimate the population size of Typhonium taylori. However, a figure between 50–100 individuals has been suggested (Brock et al. 2000).

Typhonium taylori grows on saturated sand sheet substrate in Melaleuca (Melaleuca sp.) woodland with grasses and sedges, in full sun or part shade (DIPE 2006).

The species occurs in the same area and similar habitat as the following threatened Bladderwort species: Utricularia dunstaniae (nationally listed as Endangered), U. subulata (listed as Endangered under NT legislation) and U. singeriana (listed as Vulnerable under NT legislation) (DIPE 2006).

Typhonium taylori has been recorded in flower during mid-January. The species is most likely to be insect pollinated (Mayo et al. 1997). Some members of the family Araceae and of the genus Typhonium are vegetatively propagated in cultivation by means of daughter tubers (Mayo et al. 1997). However, whether T. taylori reproduces vegetatively is not known (DIPE 2006).

Typhonium taylori is a small, cryptic and seasonally dormant species and appears to have specific habitat requirements. T. taylori is difficult to identify except during flowering (mid January).

Given T. taylori is seasonally dormant, it is essential that surveys for this species take place during the wet season. Fertile material has only been collected during mid-January, with a further sterile collection during March, suggesting that its reproductive window (and therefore ease of positive identification) may be short (DIPE 2006).

Apart from its diminutive size, its most distinctive feature is the position of the spadix (flower spike) which is deflected such that it projects forward more or less horizontally from the spathe mouth. In contrast, most other species of Typhonium have a spadix which is more or less vertically orientated (DIPE 2006).

Threats to Typhonium taylori include potential disturbance of habitat from sand mining, clearing for urban/rural subdivision and changes to hydrology.

Sand mining

Sand sheets in the Howard River floodplain have been identified as an extractive mineral resource (Doyle 2003). During surveys undertaken in 2000 and 2001 areas of sand sheet showed evidence of sand mining activity or were pegged for potential sand mining activity (Kerrigan 2004 pers. comm.). Although no proposed future extractive leases coincide with known populations of this species, there is a correlation between preferred habitat and land units already supporting extractive leases (DIPE 2006).

Changes to hydrology

Population growth in Darwin and Litchfield Shires are expected, and may result in increased water demands (Haig & Townsend 2003). The impact on hydrology of the expansion of the McMinns Borefield (Haig & Townsend 2003) and inferred increase in domestic bores is unknown. Similarly, the impact of increased runoff as a result of urbanisation is unknown, and requires further investigation (Haig & Townsend 2003).

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC 2006bb) recommended the following threat abatement activities for Typhonium taylori:

  • Undertake further survey and mapping;
  • Protect all known localities of the species; and
  • Undertake further research on the impact of altered hydrological regimes.

Further surveys may yield additional populations (DIPE 2006).

A taxonomic revision of this genus in Australia was undertaken by Hay (1993) and Hay and Taylor (1996).

Management documents for Typhonium taylori may be found at the start of this 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) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat clearance for rural, peri-urban and urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006ag) [Listing Advice].

Brock, C., I. Cowie, B. Harwood, G. Leach, D. Milne, S. Stirrat & J. Woinarksi (2000). Plantation proposal, Melville Island: assessment of biodiversity: Report to Northern Territory Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, Tiwi Land Council, and Sylvatech Australia Pty Ltd. Darwin: Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory.

Cowie, I.D. (2002). Preliminary report on a survey of Utricularia (LENTIBULARIACEAE) in the Howard River - Shoal Bay area. Darwin: Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment.

Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment (DIPE) (2006). Biodiversity Conservation Section, Northern Territory Government.

Doyle, N. (2003). Extractive minerals in the outer Darwin area. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Report 14.

Haig, T. & Townsend (2003). An understanding of the groundwater and surface water hydrology of the Darwin Harbour Plan of Management area. In: Proceedings of the Darwin Harbour: Public presentations.

Hay, A. (1993). The genus Typhonium (Araceae-Areae) in Australasia. Blumea. 37:345-376.

Hay, A. & S.M. Taylor (1996). A new species of Typhonium Schott (Araceae - Areae) from the Northern Territory, with notes on the conservation status of two Areae endemic to the Tiwi Islands. Telopea. 6 (4):563-567.

Kerrigan, R. (2004). Personal Communication.

Mayo, S.J., J. Bogner & P.C. Boyce (1997). The Genera of Araceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2006ag). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Typhonium taylori. [Online]. Available from:

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2006bb). NON-APPROVED Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Typhonium taylori. [Online]. Available from:

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Typhonium taylori in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 19:02:56 +1000.