Streblorrhiza speciosa   (Endl.)


 
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Phillip Island Glory Pea
(Streblorrhiza speciosa)

 
syn. Clianthus speciosus ((Endl.) Steud.)

 
distribution:

Australia: Phillip Island / Norfolk Islands

 
local name: -

 
size: (?)

extinction date: ca. 1860 (?)

 
This climbing plant with its beautiful pinkish flowers was once growing as an endemic on the tiny, only 1,9 km² large Phillip Island, which lies about 6 km offshore Norfolk Island's south coast.

As often happens, in the case of the Phillip Island Glory Pea too feral animals, rabbits, pigs (about 4000 have been released!) and goats, introduced by Europeans, played the leadeing role for the extinction.

There are only three herbarium specimens of this species left today, which originate from the year 1804, from the time before imported mammals destroyed  the whole vegetation of the islet. Two of these specimens are now kept in the 'Naturhistorisches Museum Wien' / Austria, the third is kept in the herbarium at the Royal Botanical Garden of Kew / Great Britain.

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The species was obviously found in the wild for the last time in the year 1830. It was however described only three years later on the basis of plants cultivated under glass in Great Britain.

Around 1860 the last of these glasshouse plants must have died, long time after the last member of this species, living in the wild, disappeared from its true native home.

 
left:

Phillip Island Glory Pea (Streblorrhiza speciosa)


Depiction from 'Edwards's botanical register. Plate 51. Vol. 27 (1841)'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 
References:

- Peggy L. Fiedler; Peter M. Kareiva: Conservation biology: for the coming decade. Springer, 1997
- P. B. Heenan: Relationships of Streblorrhiza (Fabaceae), an extinct monotypic genus from Phillip Island, South Pacific Ocean. New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 39(1): 9-15. 2001
- Brian Schrire: Going.....going.... is it gone? Streblorrhiza speciosa – the Phillip Island glory pea. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 24(3): 196–197. 2007
- Das Naturhistorische. Das Magazin des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien. pp 10-11. Frühling 2008