Author Archives: Jürgen

The State Herbarium and weed management in South Australia

Herbarium specimen of Cotoneaster pannosus, consisting of stems with leaves and fruits, label with collection information, and a barcode that identifies the sheet.

The State Herbarium of South Australia documents and lists all known plant species that grow wild in South Australia. We are able to do this for both introduced and native species, with all observations verified by voucher specimens. These are stored as permanent verifiable records of what species grew where and at which time.

Herbarium specimens have two main components: The actual specimen is normally a pressed and dried plant, or part(s) thereof, that can be used for identification. The second part of the specimen is the data associated with the collection. This includes, but is not limited to, location, frequency, habitat, habit and any other obvious observations. This data are as important as the preserved plant itself. Having one part without the other renders the specimens almost useless.

State Herbarium Weeds Botanist, Chris Brodie is responsible for identifying and cataloguing the wild non-native plants for South Australia. Especially important are any previously unrecorded wild populations of non-native plant species that are new to the State or new to individual regions, especially those in the early stages of establishment that could be the next ”big problem weed species”.

Cardiospermum grandiflorum (Balloon Vine), a species listed as naturalised in 2017. Photo: C.J.Brodie.

Weed species are organisms that adversely impact natural and agricultural environments. Some known problematic weed species in South Australia are:

The Weed Management Society of South Australia (WMSSA) provides a forum to share knowledge, debate issues and generate ideas, drawing on practical weed control experience and the latest research. New members are always welcomed and events are open to all. The Society brings together people actively involved in managing weeds and researchers with interests in protecting our agricultural and natural environments. The main aim of the WMSSA is to minimize the “impacts of weeds in South Australia, on our economy, environment and society”.

At this year’s Annual General Meeting of WMSSA, Chris Brodie was voted in as Secretary of the Society. This is a great opportunity for the Herbarium to involve itself in the wider weeds community in South Australia, and it is with enthusiasm that Chris assumes this role in the Society.

Next year, the WMSSA will be holding its 6th bi-annual conference on 2–3 May 2018 at the Waite Plant Research Centre. Further details can be obtained from the June edition of Weedwise, the Society’s newsletter. All are encouraged to get involved and interested parties should keep their diaries clear for the 6th WMSSA conference in May.

Contributed by State Herbarium Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie.

40 years Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens

On Sunday, 5 Nov. 2017, the Botanic Gardens of South Australia celebrates the 40th anniversary of Mt Lofty Botanic Garden. The birthday party will be held from 10am-3pm. You can enjoy food trucks, live music, nature play activities for the kids, and beer, wine and cider from local Adelaide Hills producers, guided walks and tours, plant sales and more.

Visit the Botanic Gardens web-site for more information.

First envisaged in 1911 by the Director of the Botanic Gardens, Maurice Holtze, as a cool climate arboretum, the first land for a botanic garden in the Adelaide Hills was purchased in 1952 under Noel Lothian. It took many years of planning and planting, until in Nov. 1977 Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens was opened to the public.

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Main Lake. Photo: sa-uavs.com.au

Conferences in Adelaide

(1) This week, the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, hosted the 8th BGANZ Congress. Around 140 delegates from Australia, New Zealand and around the world attended the conference. The theme of the Congress was Preservation: Exploring and Adapting, underlining the need for adaptation of botanic gardens in their ongoing environment and the ever changing attitudes of the community. This covered both the natural, cultivated and political environment and the required strategies to ensure the preservation of endangered species can continue.

The BGANZ Congress Booklet is available for download (64mb PDF).

(2) At the end of next month, 26-29 Nov. 2017, the State Herbarium of South Australia, the South Australian Museum, The University of Adelaide and Flinders University will host the joint meeting of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) and the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists (SASB), including the biennial Invertebrate Biodiversity and Conservation Meeting. The conference with the theme Systematics 2017 — Integrating Systematics for Conservation and Ecology will be held at The University of Adelaide.

Plenary speakers will include Gonzalo Giribet (Harvard University), Judy West (Parks Australia), Nerida Wilson (Western Australian Museum), Shelley James (National Herbarium of New South Wales) and Kristofer Helgen (The University of Adelaide). Over 120 delegates have already registered, many of whom will give presentations on their research.

Please visit the Conference web-site for more information and registration.

The University of Adelaide, Barr Smith Library in the foreground. Photo: M. Seyfang (CC-BY).

Bushblitz 2017 (1)

Great Victoria Desert dunes from the air, covered in rings of spinifex grass. Photo: P.J. Lang.

From 16 Sep. – 1 Oct. 2017, three botanists from the State Herbarium of South Australia, Peter Canty, Peter Lang and Juergen Kellermann, and a colleague from the Western Australian Herbarium, Ryonen Butcher, took part in the Bushblitz expedition to the Great Victoria Desert.

They returned with about 600 plant collections from the region for the State Herbarium. A duplicate set of specimens will be lodged with the WA Herbarium. The collections have been dried and are currently being examined and identified. Work in this environment was greatly facilitated by the use of a helicopter to access remote locations.

The Great Victoria Desert bioregion (GVD) is shared between South Australia and Western Australia. It is one of the least explored areas of both states. Two previous reports by the Biological Survey of South Australia cover the area, i.e. the reports for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (34.3mb PDF) and the Maralinga Tjuratja Lands (20.4mb PDF). However many other areas in the regions remain unexplored. Detailled reports on two GVD areas in WA have been prepared: Queen Victoria Springs Nature Reserve (MSc thesis) and the Peterswald Hill area (12.7mb PDF). The Bushblitz study area covered the Maralinga Tjaruta Lands and Mamungari Conservation Park, including the Serpentine Lakes.

The expedition could not have been undertaken with the help and support of the traditional owners of the area, the Maralinga Tjarutja Council, senior people from Oak Valley and Tjuntjunjara, as well as the Spinifex Rangers and the Alinytjara Wilurara NRM. This is greatly acknowleged.

Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. It is the world’s first continent-scale biodiversity survey, providing the knowledge needed to help us protect Australia’s unique animals and plants for generations to come.

Fungus of the month: Oct. 2017

Scutellinia scutellata, Flinders Chase National Park. Scale bar = 10 mm. Photo: David Catcheside.

A small orange disc fungus, Scutellinia scutellata, is the State Herbarium of South Australia‘s Fungus of the Month for October 2017. This little fungus is widespread, but particularly spectacular in DEWNR’s Park of the Month, Flinders Chase National Park. The common name for Scutellinia scutellata is “eyelash fungus”, because of the long dark hairs fringing the margin of the brilliant orange disc.

Scutellinia scutellata, Flinders Chase National Park, fresh herbarium collection PSC4233. Each division of scale bar = 1 mm. Photo: David Catcheside.

Scutellinia scutellata (L.) Lambotte is a common disc fungus with a worldwide distribution. It is saprotrophic, growing on rotten, wet wood, sometimes on soil but in association with wood. The fruit bodies may be in clusters or gregarious over the wood.

The generic name is derived from the Latin scutum, a shield, with the suffixes -ella, denoting the diminutive stature, and –ineus, meaning resembling. The specific epithet scutellatum means shield or saucer shaped.

The fruit bodies, apothecia, are small, stemless saucers of height 1–5 mm and diameter 2–10 mm, although they may reach a diameter of 20 mm. The apothecia start as tiny spherical knobs which expand and become saucer-shaped. Later the saucers flatten into discs with upturned margins. The surface of the upper disc is bright orange to orange red, its margin is fringed with stiff, bristle-like black-brown hairs to 1.5 mm long. The lower surface is brownish due to the dense brown hairs.

Scutellinia scutellata, hairs on outer surface of apothecium. Scale bar = 10 µm. Photo: Pam Catcheside.

Scutellinia (Cooke) Lambotte is in the family Pyronemataceae Corda, order Pezizales J.Schröt. Sixty-six species of Scutellinia are recognised worldwide, eight occur in Australia. In South Australia, besides S. scutellata, three other species have been recorded: S. kerguelensis (Berk.) Kuntze, S. vinosobrunnea (Berk. & Broome) Kuntze  and S. pseudomargaritacea Le Gal.

More information about the species was published online by Michael Kuo (mushroomexpert.com), Mykoweb and Wikipedia.

Other references

Beug, M.W., Bessette, A.E. & Bessette, A.R. (2014). Ascomycete Fungi of North America. University of Texas Press: Austin, Texas. P253-254 (D; CP).

Fuhrer, B. (2005). A field guide to Australian Fungi. Bloomings Books: Melbourne. P337 (D; CP).

Gates, G. & Ratkowsky, D. (2014). Field Guide to Tasmanian Fungi. Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club. P235 (D; CP).

Saunders, B. (2015). Admiring the Fungi of the Lower Eyre Peninsula. Printmax, Government of South Australia, Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board. P170 (D; CP).

D = description; CP = colour photograph.

Contributed by State Herbarium Hon. Research Associate Pam Catcheside.