Commidendrum spurium 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Compositae

Scientific Name: Commidendrum spurium
Species Authority: (G.Forst.) DC.
Common Name(s):
English False Gumwood
Aster gummiferus Hook.f. pro parte
Conyza cuneifolia Raeusch. non Lam.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iv,v)+2ab(iv,v); C2a(i); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Cairns-Wicks, R.
Reviewer(s): Cronk, Q. & Clubbe, C. (South Atlantic Island Plants Red List Authority)
A small tree that is known from two isolated subpopulations. The total wild population of C. spurium is eight plants. As the species had been reduced to two tiny and reproductively isolated populations (with one individual at Coles Rock and seven at Mt Vesey), although material of the third population at Oaklands is growing at the ECS Nursery and at Edinburgh, inbreeding is inevitable and the self incompatibility (leaky) mechanism of C. spurium will reduce the amount of viable seed produced. Previous habitat loss occurred through land clearance making way for pasture and New Zealand Flax Plantations.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Known from just eight individuals in the wild: one old plant on a cliff at Coles Rock and seven plants on a cliff (690 m.) at Mt. Vesey. The genus consists of four species, all endemic to St Helena.
Countries occurrence:
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A small branching tree growing to 3 m., flowering from November to March. According to Cronk (1989) the False Gumwood would once have been a constituent species of the wet gumwood woodland which existed on the slopes and cliffs just below the central ridge (500-650 m.) and a subdominant species of the Cabbage tree woodland (600 – 750 m.).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Historically used as a fuel wood. C. spurium also suffered from habitat loss, primarily through land clearance to make way for pasture and New Zealand Flax Plantations.
Current cause of continued decline is considered to be the lack of consistency in conservation efforts. This species also has a self-incompatibility mechanism, that prevents individuals sharing s-alleles from reproducting.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a real need to have regular site visits, weed control and annual seed collection and thereafter seed sowing. The Draft Recovery Action Plan for this species has a number of recovery action objectives, these are:
1. To care for all existing individuals in wild and cultivated sites.
2. To propagate all individuals from both wild and cultivated sites.
3. To establish seed orchards where individuals from all sites can be grown together.
4. To carry out a programme of reciprocal pollinations.

Citation: Cairns-Wicks, R. 2003. Commidendrum spurium. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T37588A10060240. . Downloaded on 31 May 2016.
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