New Journal articles: July 2024

The State Herbarium of South Australia published two article on the genus Hibbertia in Vol. 38 of its journal Swainsona today,11 July 2024.

Hibbertia cunninghamii, flower (left) and amplexicaul leaf (right). Photo: T.A. Hammer.

T.A. Hammer & K.R. Thiele, Revision of the Western Australian Hibbertia cunninghamii species group (Dilleniaceae) (3.9mb PDF).

The authors review Hibbertia cunninghamii and four related species, H. amplexicaulis, H. nymphaea, H. perfoliata and H. porongurupensis, all endemic to south-western WA and are characterised by amplexicaul leaf bases. The circumscriptions of the species is clarified and a revised identification key published. All species are illustrated with colour photographs.

Hibbertia acutifolia flower. Photo: T.A.Hammer.

T.A. Hammer, New combinations in the Hibbertia vestita (Dilleniaceae) species group from New South Wales (15.4mb PDF).

The author presents evidence that two subspecies of Hibbertia from New South Wales are better treated at species level. He changes the names of Hibbertia ericifolia subsp. acutifolia to the species H. acutifolia, and H. florida subsp. angustinervis to H. angustinervis. A table outlining the differences is provided and detailed photographs of leaves and flowers show the morphologies of the species and how they differ from typical Hibbertia ericifolia and H. florida.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at

New 2022-23 and 2021-22 weeds reports published

Protea cynaroides, a newly recognised weed, originally from South Africa. Re-generating parent plant on Kangaroo Island. Photo: C.J. Brodie.

The State Herbarium of South Australia documents all known plant taxa (species, sub-species, varieties and forms) native and naturalised (weedy) in South Australia. These are listed in the Census of South Australian Plants, Algae and Fungi. All newly discovered State and regional records are added to the Census throughout the year. These records are based on preserved plant specimens, verified by a botanists and housed in the vaults of the State Herbarium.

For all new records of non-native plants, an annual report is produced by Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie and Senior Botanist Peter Lang, both from the State Herbarium. The report includes the list of new weeds recorded for South Australia with locations, descriptions and photographs. Also documented are updates to taxa that have had a change in distribution, weed status or name. Other activities carried out by the Weeds Botanist are summarised, as well, such as field trips or presentations to community groups.

The latest reports are now available online:

Brodie, C.J. & Lang, P.J. (2024). Regional Landscape Surveillance for New Weed Threats Project, 2021-2022: Annual report on new plant naturalisations in South Australia (2.7mb PDF).

Brodie, C.J. & Lang, P.J. (2024). Regional Landscape Surveillance for New Weed Threats Project, 2022-2023: Annual report on new plant naturalisations in South Australia (3.2mb PDF).

Also available for download are reports for the year 20-2021 (2.2mb PDF), as well as the reports for 2019-20 (16mb PDF), 2018-19 (4.2mb PDF), 2017-18 (4.5mb PDF), 2016-17 (3.8mb PDF) and a compilation of all reports from 2010 to 2016 (3.7mb PDF).

These reports highlight to land managers, which non-native plant species have recently been found in South Australia and where. New records are listed as either “naturalised/established” (*) or “questionably naturalised/established” (?e).

At the end of June 2023, there were 5170 vascular plant taxa recognised in South Australia, of which 1714 are weeds, i.e. 33%. In the 2021-22 financial year, eight new weeds were added to the Census; and in 2022-23, 15 new weeds. During the last thirteen years, 267 new weed records were added to the SA Census through work of the State Herbarium’s Weed Botanist.

Naturalised plant taxa are those that have originally been introduced by humans to an area, deliberately or accidentally. They have self-propagated without aid, where they are not wanted, and are possibly spreading by natural means to new areas. An example listed in the recent reports recorded as naturalised for the first time, is the garden plant Opuntia leoglossa (Lion’s Tongue ) a species of unknown origin recorded as a weed across Australia and Spain. This is an example of a garden plant that has become weedy (see also a 1985 article by P.M. Kloot; 733kb PDF).

Questionably Naturalised taxa (i.e. possible new weeds) are introduced non-native plants that may be self-propagating without aid, but are not well established or lack data to classify them as naturalised. Examples of this are the garden plants Alstroemeria psittacina Parrot Lily, Nassella trichotoma Serrated Tussock Grass, and several Protea species; Protea neriifolia Oleander-leaf Protea, and Protea cynaroides King Protea.

Australian species can also become weeds, such as Acacia gonophylla Rasp-stemmed Wattle, Banksia grandis Bull Banksia, Melaleuca diosmifolia Green Honey-myrtle, and Vincetoxicum barbatum Bearded Tylophora, all from other states.

The new state records Protea neriifolia Oleander-leaf Protea, Protea cynaroides King Protea, and Banksia grandis Bull Banksia, were recorded for the first time for South Australia collected from Kangaroo Island, from within a fire a scar from the 2019-20 bushfires. Also collected from KI, mostly from within the fire scars were an additional 41 new regional weed records listed as naturalised or questionably naturalised for KI. This data is contained within the “Updates to weed distribution, weed status, and name changes” sections of the reports.

The Mexican palm Washingtonia robusta, growing in an abandoned and demolished part of Leigh Creek. Photo: C.J. Brodie.

Any unknown weed or possible new state or regional weed records should be reported to Chris Brodie (0437 825 685, If you have permission from the landowner, you could press a plant, record collection data, and submit a preserved plant specimen for identification.

The pressed plant (or part of the plant) should consist of stems with leaves attached and preferably flowers and/or fruit. Collection data includes, plant location, habitat, frequency, height and width, colour and smell, and what the plant looks like when alive and growing. Images can help in identifying plants. Also include the date, your name and contact details.

Please use the pro-forma collection sheet (0.4mb PDF) in pencil and submit it together with the pressed plant specimen.

Compiled by State Herbarium Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie.

New angiosperm tree of life

Last week a major research paper on the evolution of flowering plants was published. It was prepared by a global team of 279 authors, lead by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. The following botanists from the State Herbarium of South Australia and The University of Adelaide were also involved in the project: Michelle Waycott (SA Team leader), Ed Biffin, Ainsley Calladine, John Conran, Kor-jent van Dijk, Andrew McDougall, Francis Nge (now National Herbarium of New South Wales), Andrew Thornhill (now University of New England), Helen Vonow and Luis Williamson. All collaborators have been actively involved in providing samples, contributing to analysis, interpretation, paper conceptualisation and/or writing.

A.R. Zuntini et al. (2024). Phylogenomics and the rise of the angiosperms. Nature [published online before print], 8 pp. and Electronic Supplement.

The new phylogeny of flowering plants can be viewed, explored and searched at the Kew Tree of Life Explorer website. The paper and website represent a massive step-change in a baseline for phylogenetic data being used in understanding the evolution of angiosperms.

Time-calibrated phylogenetic tree for angiosperms based on 353 nuclear genes. All 64 orders, all 416 families and 58% (7,923) of genera are represented.

A new grass book

A few months ago, a new book about the common grasses in southern Australia was published by Ellen Bennett and the Native Grass Resources Group

Bennett, E. (2024). That grass book: Identifying grasses in southern Australia. Published by the author: Mitcham.

The work was supported by staff of the State Herbarium of South Australia, in particular Helen Vonow (Collection Manager) and Peter Canty (former Manager of the Herbarium).

Grasses can be difficult to distinguish. This book provides easy to use silhouette images of flower heads to help with identification. Each species receives a full-page treatment with detailed photographs of the grasses and close-up images. The book covers about 80 common genera and 130 common species found in southern Australia.

The book is available from this website. It costs $45.


Fundraising for fungi

For about 20 years, State Herbarium Hon. Research Associate Pam Catcheside and her husband David Catcheside from Flinders University are undertaking regular surveys for fungi on Kangaroo Island. They are documenting, describing and photographing the species they find and have contributed numerous specimens of fungi to the State Herbarium of South Australia.

The culmination of their work is currently being prepared as a book, to be published by the Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium:

The Fungi of Kangaroo Island – and beyond
An illustrated field guide to the larger fungi of Southern Australia

The book will have an extensive introduction on fungi, their classification and where to find them in South Australia. Over 200 species will be described, covering a wide variety of different genera, with one page per species. The volume will have around 400 pages.

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation is now fundraising to help and off-set some of the publication costs of the volume. Please click on this link for more information on the book and how you can donate. Your help will be much appreciated.

Sample pages from Pam & David Catcheside’s book (click on image to enlarge).