Azorella macquariensis

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Azorella macquariensis
Azorella macquariensis.jpg
Azorella macquariensis cushion plant on Macquarie Island.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Azorella
Species: A. macquariensis
Binomial name
Azorella macquariensis
Orchard[1]
Synonyms

Azorella selago

Azorella macquariensis, also known as Macquarie azorella or Macquarie cushions, is a species of cushion plant endemic to Australia’s subantarctic Macquarie Island. It was referred to the more widely distributed A. selago until 1989, when it was described as a separate species.[2]

Description[edit]

Azorella macquariensis is a perennial cushion-forming herb. Individuals form cushions and mats that may vary in size from a few centimetres to several metres in diameter and up to 60 cm in height. It is a keystone species dominating Macquarie's feldmark habitat, in which it is the only vascular plant, forming a major structural component of the vegetation. The feldmark community covers about half the island in the most wind-exposed areas of the plateau some 200–400 m above sea level. The plant flowers from December to February and fruits from January to April. It turns brown and ceases to grow during winter (from June to August).[2]

Conservation status[edit]

Azorella macquariensis has suffered a catastrophic decline due to dieback from unknown causes, first noticed in December 2008, and is considered to be endangered.[2]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Orchard (1989)
  2. ^ a b c Tasmanian Threatened Species Notesheet (2009)

Sources[edit]

  • Orchard, A.E. (1989). "Azorella Lamarek (Hydrocotylaceae) on Heard and Macquarie Islands". Muelleria. 7: 16–18. 
  • "Azorella macquariensis – Macquarie cushions" (PDF). Tasmanian Threatened Species Notesheet. Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania. 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-22.