National Recovery Plan
© Copyright State of NSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and
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Requests for information or comments regarding the recovery program for Magenta Lilly Pilly are best
The Magenta Lilly Pilly Coordinator
Biodiversity Assessment and Conservation Section, North East Branch
Conservation and Regulation Division
Office of Environment and Heritage
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Locked Bag 914
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Phone: 02 6651 5946
Cover illustrator: Lesley Elkan © Botanic Gardens Trust
N S W O f f i c e o f E n v i r o n m e n t a n d H e r i t a g e
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Magenta Lilly Pilly
This document constitutes the national recovery plan for Magenta Lilly Pilly (Syzygium
known range. It identifies the actions to be taken to ensure the long term viability of the species
in nature and the parties who will undertake these actions.
Magenta Lilly Pilly is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and
South Wales, with a coastal distribution between Upper Lansdowne near Taree in the north and
Conjola National Park near Sussex Inlet in the south. It is found on a range of land tenures and
is represented in a number of national parks and nature reserves.
The overall objective of this recovery plan is to protect known subpopulations of Magenta Lilly
Pilly from decline and to ensure that wild populations of the species remain viable in the long
term. Specific recovery objectives include:
reducing impacts of Myrtle Rust on Magenta Lilly Pilly and its habitat
maintaining a representative ex situ collection of Magenta Lilly Pilly
raising awareness of the conservation significance of Magenta Lilly Pilly and involving
It is intended that the recovery plan will be implemented over a five year period.
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The preparation of this recovery plan was funded by the Australian Government’s Natural
Heritage Trust and has involved the combined effort of a number of people. The Office of
Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet would like to acknowledge the
following people for their contribution:
Ian Hanson, Ian Wilkinson, Shane Ruming and Katrina McKay (Office of Environment and
Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet) who prepared this recovery plan.
Peter Richards and Phil Gilmour (Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd) who collated information on the
status of the species, much of which forms the basis for the background of this plan.
Katie Thurlby who, along with supervisors William Sherwin (University of NSW), Maurizio
Rossetto (Botanic Gardens Trust) and Peter Wilson (Botanic Gardens Trust), conducted the
genetic research which frames the management context for many of the actions in this plan.
Robert Payne (Ecological Surveys and Management), Kevin Mills (Kevin Mills & Associates),
Ian Turner, Mel Schroder, Deb Holloman, Doug Beckers, John Eaton and Pete Turner (all Office
of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet), Chrissy Locke and Mark
Armstrong (Department of Defence), Peter Wilson and Kim Hamilton (Botanic Gardens Trust),
Alex Floyd (North Coast Regional Botanic Garden), Andrew Paget (Hunter-Central Rivers
Catchment Management Authority), Martin Fortescue and Andrew Chalklen (Department of
Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) and Carole Helman
(consultant) all provided valuable information and helpful feedback in relation to the species and
The Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet would also like to
acknowledge the efforts of the many volunteer groups who have contributed to the protection of
Magenta Lilly Pilly through their involvement in bush regeneration and the restoration of habitat.
P a g e i i i
Table of Contents
In tro d u c tio n
2. Le g is la tive Co n te xt
3. S p e c ie s In fo rm a tio n
Taxonomy and description
Life history and ecology
4. Th re a ts a n d Ma n a g e m e n t Is s u e s
Ability of species to recover
5. P re vio u s Re c o ve ry Ac tio n s
Surveys and mapping
Habitat protection and management
6. P ro p o s e d Re c o ve ry Ob je c tive s , Ac tio n s a n d P e rfo rm a n c e Crite ria
Coordination of recovery efforts
Habitat and threat management
Disease and pathogens
Ex situ conservation
Community liaison, education, awareness and involvement
7. Im p le m e n ta tio n
8. S o c ia l a n d Ec o n o m ic Co n s e q u e n c e s
9. Ro le a n d In te re s ts o f In d ig e n o u s P e o p le
10. Be n e fits to o th e r s p e c ie s /e c o lo g ic a l c o m m u n itie s
11. P re p a ra tio n De ta ils
12. Re vie w Da te
13. Re fe re n c e s
14. Ac ro n ym s
Appendix 1: Priority sites for Bitou Bush and Lantana Control
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Fig u re 1.
Transverse section of Magenta Lilly Pilly fruit showing seed containing
Distribution of Magenta Lilly Pilly.
Features used to distinguish Magenta Lilly Pilly from similar species
Location and tenure summary of Magenta Lilly Pilly populations
Cost and implementation details of the Magenta Lilly Pilly Recovery Plan
Priority sites identified in the NSW Bitou Bush Threat Abatement Plan (DEC 2006)
Higher priority sites identified in the Plan to Protect Environmental Assets from
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In tro d u c tio n
Magenta Lilly Pilly Syzygium paniculatum Gaertn. (Myrtaceae) is a small to medium-sized tree
endemic to coastal New South Wales (NSW) between Taree in the north and Sussex Inlet in the
south. The species is currently known from approximately 44 subpopulations in five
This document constitutes the national recovery plan for Magenta Lilly Pilly and, as such,
considers the requirements of the species across its known range. It identifies the actions that
need to be undertaken to ensure the long term viability of the species in nature and the parties
who will undertake such actions. The attainment of the objectives of this recovery plan is subject
to budgetary and other constraints affecting the parties involved. The information in this
recovery plan is accurate to January 2011.
To secure the recovery of Magenta Lilly Pilly this recovery plan advocates recovery actions that
favour a mix of in situ and ex situ management and provide for a greater understanding of the
biology of the species.
This plan has been prepared by the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier
and Cabinet (OEH) in consultation with the Australian Government Department of Sustainability,
Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), the Australian Government
Department of Defence (DoD), local governments and other interested parties.
Le g is la tive Co n te xt
Magenta Lilly Pilly is known to occur within the ‘littoral rainforest and coastal vine thickets’
threatened ecological community listed under the EPBC Act and its TSC Act equivalent, ‘littoral
rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions’.
This recovery plan has been prepared to comply with the requirements of the EPBC Act.
Magenta Lilly Pilly belongs to the family Myrtaceae. There are between 500 and 1000 species in
the genus Syzygium worldwide. Of these, 52 occur in Australia, with 47 of them being endemic
(Hyland 1983; Wilson 2002).
Prior to a major revision of the Australian members of Syzygium and other related genera
(Hyland 1983), the species now known as Syzygium paniculatum was often referred to as
actually Syzygium oleosum. Confusingly, the current species Syzygium australe had, in the
past, been referred to as Syzygium paniculatum and, as a consequence, most published
records of Syzygium paniculatum that predate Hyland’s (1983) revision are actually Syzygium
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Magenta Lilly Pilly is a small to medium-sized tree growing to a height of 18 m and a diameter at
breast height of 40 cm. Occasionally, specimens up to 25 m in height and 1–2 m in diameter
have been recorded (P. Gilmour pers. comm., R. Payne pers. comm. in Eco Logical Australia
2006). In exposed situations the species may take the form of a small, coppiced tree or shrub.
The trunk varies from straight to crooked (Floyd 2008), and coppices sometimes arise from the
base or damaged sections (Payne 1997). Buttressing is not apparent (Floyd 2008), although
shallow lateral roots may resemble spur buttresses on occasion. The outer bark is pinkish to
reddish-brown, flaky on smaller trunks but becoming more platy on larger trunks (Floyd 2008;
Wilson 2002). The branchlets are green, becoming brown. When fresh, these are slightly
angular and dorsiventrally flattened. The older branchlets are rounded and slightly scaly (Floyd
in length and 3 cm in width. They possess prominent, tapered ‘drip-tips’, wedge-shaped bases,
glossy, dark green upper surfaces with slightly sunken midribs, and paler lower surfaces. They
also possess small, distinct, scattered oil glands and numerous lateral veins. An intra-marginal
vein is discernible, and is close to the lamina edge. The petiole is 2–10 mm long (Floyd 2008;
The flowers of the species are white and borne in terminal
and upper-axillary panicles. They consist of four rounded
petals, each one of which is 4–5 mm in width (Floyd 2008;
Wilson 2002). The stamens are numerous and 6–16 mm
long. The fruit is a magenta, globose to ovoid berry, although
it can be white, pale pink or purple (Floyd 2008; Wilson
2002). Fruit diameter is 12–25 mm. The fruit is also shiny
and possesses fleshy distal calyx lobes (Floyd 2008). The
seed, which is 5–15 mm in diameter, is brown, solitary,
globular and polyembryonic, consisting of one to nine tightly
packed embryos (Figure 1) (Thurlby 2010). The species
flowers from summer to early autumn (December to March)
and the fruits are evident in autumn, winter and early spring
(March to September).
Magenta Lilly Pilly is superficially similar to Brush Cherry
(Syzygium australe), Blue Lilly Pilly (S. oleosum) and Lilly
Pilly (Acmena smithii), which occur sympatrically within part
or all of the natural range of Magenta Lilly Pilly. Magenta Lilly
Pilly has also been widely planted throughout and beyond its
known range, making it difficult at times to identify individuals
based upon provenance. Table 1 provides a summary of the
chief features used to distinguish Magenta Lilly Pilly from
superficially similar species.
section of Magenta Lilly
Pilly fruit showing seed
Illustration: Lesley Elkan ©
Botanic Gardens Trust.
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Ta b le 1.
Features used to distinguish Magenta Lilly Pilly from similar species
Magenta Lilly Pilly
Blue Lilly Pilly
green turning brown.
Rounded, smooth, green,
Glossy above, pale and
Scattered, small but
distinct oil dots.
citrus-like odour when
Glossy above, pale
and dull below.
small, indistinct oil
dots. Slight pleasant
odour when crushed.
Glossy above, pale
below. Lanceolate. Mid-
rib obscurely sunken
above, groove continuing
down leaf stalk.
Numerous distinct oil
dots. Very strong, citrus-
like odour when crushed.
Sticky oil released.
Dull dark green
above, paler below.
Broadly elliptic to
Mid-rib clearly sunken
above. Oil dots
Odour weak, slightly
Pinkish to reddish-
brown, flaky, becoming
Reddish-brown to grey,
scaly, sheds in narrow
Brown, finely scaly.
ovoid berry, 12–25 mm
diameter. Calyx lobes
formed. Seed solitary,
15–25 mm long.
Calyx lobes formed.
berry 13–40 mm
persistent, but not
forming lobes. Seed
White or purplish
globular berry 8–20
mm diameter. Calyx
shed. Seed solitary.
Based upon available information, the known total population of Magenta Lilly Pilly is estimated
to be approximately 1200 plants that are distributed along a 400 kilometre stretch of coastal
NSW between Upper Lansdowne in the north to Conjola National Park in the south (Figure 2).
The species occurs naturally in the Jervis, Sydney Cataract, Pittwater and Wyong subregions of
the Sydney Basin Bioregion, and in the Karuah-Manning and Macleay-Hastings subregions of
the NSW North Coast Bioregion (after Commonwealth of Australia 2005). Records from the
Cumberland subregion of the Sydney Basin Bioregion are discussed below separately.
Occurrences of Magenta Lilly Pilly are disjunct. Five metapopulations are identified, based on
the assumption of an approximately 30 kilometre foraging range for the species’ larger potential
dispersal agents such as the Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) (Eby 1995;
Tidemann 1995) and White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela) (Payne 1991). The five
metapopulations are: (i) Jervis Bay; (ii) Coalcliff; (iii) Botany Bay; (iv) Central Coast; and (v)
Karuah-Manning. These metapopulations consist of 44 known subpopulations, as identified in
Table 2. Other potential subpopulations have been identified, although these require further
investigation. This is covered by appropriate actions in Section 6.
The Jervis Bay and Central Coast metapopulations support the largest number of individuals
and subpopulations. There are 12 and 24 recorded subpopulations in these metapopulations
respectively. Up to two-thirds of all individuals of the species occur in three major
subpopulations of the Central Coast metapopulation. One of these subpopulations is protected
in Wyrrabalong National Park while the other two, at Ourimbah Creek and Martinsville, occur on
The Coalcliff metapopulation is represented by a single subpopulation of about ten plants (A.
Bofeldt pers. comm. in Eco Logical Australia 2006). The Botany Bay metapopulation appears to
support a small number of individuals within three subpopulations (R. Payne pers. comm. in Eco
Logical Australia 2006; NSW herbarium label information).
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Fig u re 2.
Distribution of Magenta Lilly Pilly
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The Karuah-Manning metapopulation consists of at least six small subpopulations of
approximately 20 mature plants (Eco Logical Australia 2006; Atlas of NSW Wildlife 2010; A.
Paget pers. comm.).
It is likely that further targeted surveys for the species will reveal additional subpopulations,
particularly on private property in the hinterland valleys of the Central Coast. Furthermore, a
thorough assessment of selected subpopulations may improve current population estimates.
For instance, the Martinsville subpopulation contains a significant number of trees which occur
sporadically along creek lines on private property (R. Payne pers. comm. in Eco Logical
Australia 2006). However there are currently no vouchered herbarium or reliable observational
records for this subpopulation, nor has a thorough survey been undertaken. Likewise, the full
extent of the sizeable Ourimbah Creek subpopulations have not been ascertained.
There are historical Magenta Lilly Pilly records from ‘Buladelah’ (1923), ‘Stroud’ (1917),
‘Blaxland’, (1943), and ‘Kurrajong Heights’ (1953). Although these records are supported by
herbarium specimens, locations could refer to general localities (for example, ‘Buladelah’ could
refer to a nearby coastal location) or consist of collections made from cultivated plants. A
number of early records labelled ‘Gosford’ may refer to legitimate localities, but specific
locations are unknown due to the use of vague locality descriptions. One 1916 collection from
‘Hogan’s Brush, Gosford’ refers to what is now known as Strickland State Forest. The species
has not been recorded from this State Forest since this date, although suitable habitat is
thought to occur in the area (Binns 1996).
In recent years, a number of new Magenta Lilly Pilly locations have been recorded in the
Sydney metropolitan area. For example, 14 new locations were recorded between 2000 and
2005. Only one record is supported by a specimen lodged with the National Herbarium of NSW,
and it is unclear whether the record in question relates to a natural occurrence or a planted tree.
The remaining 13 records appear to have been made by botanical consultants during the
course of environmental assessment work. Recent attempts at field verifications of similar
records across new residential areas in the Jervis Bay region have either failed to re-locate
individuals, or have confirmed that the records in question refer to planted trees (P. Gilmour
pers. comm. in Eco Logical Australia 2006).
It is considered likely that a proportion of the Sydney metropolitan records will prove legitimate,
as small patches of potential habitat can still be found in Sydney (including the littoral rainforest
at Bundeena and the moist vegetation types on sandy soil in areas such as Balmoral, Pittwater
and Lane Cove (Benson & Howell 1990)). Any record of an isolated Magenta Lilly Pilly
individual in the Sydney Metropolitan area should be treated with caution, due to the popularity
of the species in ornamental plantings (P. Wilson pers. comm. in Eco Logical Australia 2006).