Research news: Ptilotus in arid Australia

A new paper on the evolution of the genus Ptilotus in arid Australia was published by Tim Hammer, who is currently working as a post-doc at the State Herbarium of South Australia and The University of Adelaide with Chief Botanist, Prof. Michelle Waycott.

T.A. Hammer, M.Renton, L. Mucina & K.R. Thiele. Arid Australia as a source of plant diversity: the origin and climatic evolution of Ptilotus (Amaranthaceae). Australian Systematic Botany 34: 570-586.

Ptilotus rotundifolius, Murchison region, WA. Photo: T.A. Hammer.

The authors tested the chronological and geographic origins of the mostly arid Australian genus Ptilotus (Amaranthaceae) and its close relatives (i.e. the ‘aervoids’) by reconstructing a dated phylogeny with near comprehensive sampling for Ptilotus and estimating ancestral geographic ranges. Their analyses support the hypothesis that a pre-adaptation to aridity and early arrival in an aridifying Australia were integral to the success of Ptilotus, and that the Eremaean zone has been a source of biodiversity in the genus and for independent radiations into neighbouring climatic zones.

Tim now works on Hibbertia (Dilleniaceae), one of the most species-rich genera in Australia, in collaboration with State Herbarium Honorary Research Associate Hellmut Toelken and colleagues from South Australia and interstate.

Nature Festival 2021

Nature Festival is a 10-day program taking place between 25 September and 4 October 2021, celebrating how much we love nature in South Australia. The festival features a diverse program of activities provided by artists, authors, environmental organisations, adventure tourism companies, and nature connection practitioners. The State Herbarium of South Australia is hosting four events as part of this festival to share the science behind some of our work.

More information about these events, including tickets, can be found at the Nature Festival site.


Old Tram Barn State Herbarium tours

The heritage-listed Tram Barn A was once part of a sprawling complex which housed the original fleet of Adelaide trams. Now used as the State Herbarium, it is home to over one million plant specimens. Learn about its original use as part of the East End’s transport hub, to its refurbishment as the State Herbarium of South Australia. Discover the cultural and natural history of the building and what treasures are held within, while becoming familiar with the Herbarium’s current role in plant science and conservation.

Bookings for 27 and 28 September


The evolution of the eucalypt

Join Andrew Thornhill on a tour of Australia’s most dominant plant group as he celebrates the diversity of 124 species of eucalypts growing in Adelaide Botanic Garden and Botanic Park. Along the way, you’ll discover the specific characteristics that define different eucalypts and explore the incredible evolutionary history of the group. There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and questions along the way.

Bookings for 28 September


Useful and poisonous plants of the Adelaide Botanic Garden

Led by the State Herbarium’s resident weed expert, Chris Brodie, you will take a leisurely stroll around Adelaide Botanic Garden, Botanic Park and along the River Torrens on a tour of useful and poisonous plants. You will discover what plants in the area are particularly beneficial … and why some are considered so noxious.

Bookings for 29 and 30 September


Discovering pollen at the Adelaide Botanic Garden

Join Andrew Thornhill on a springtime tour that delves into the science behind the pollen of flowering plants. Learn how the type of pollen influences a plant’s pollination success, some contemporary research into pollen, and how it used by animals—and in the human world.

Bookings for 1 October


The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium are also hosting three other events:

First Creek Wetland, our Wetlands Curator will provide insights to both the technology and nature used to create a home for a wide diversity of flora and fauna in this guided tour.

Remnant River Red Gums, John Sandham will take you on a tour of the remaining River Red Gums, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, in Adelaide Botanic Garden and Botanic Park and introduces you to their young progeny.

Guided Tour through Rhododendron Gully, experience the iconic Rhododendron Gully at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in its magnificent glory. Boasting one of Australia’s best Rhododendron collections, containing at least 150 species.

Written by Herbarium Research Leader Sarah Imgraben.

Research news: fungi papers published

During the last week, two papers were published by State Herbarium of South Australia‘s mycologist, Dr Teresa Lebel, and co-authors in the online version of the journal Mycologia:

Agaricus xanthodermus, p = pileus; s = stipe; a = annulus. Photo: A.-G. Boxshall.

(1) A.-G. Boxshall, J.L. Birch, T. Lebel, M.R.E. Symonds & D.L. Callahan (2021). A field-based investigation of simple phenol variation in Australian Agaricus xanthodermus. Mycologia (Publisher’s website).

Agaricus xanthodermus (yellow stainer) and other species of the yellow-staining Agaricus sect. Xanthodermatei are responsible for mushroom-related poisoning cases that require treatment. However, longstanding anecdotal evidence indicates that this species appears to exhibit considerable variation in toxicity, resulting in gastrointestinal irritation of varying severity in most cases. During her MSc research, the first author quantified the amount of phenol, hydroquinone and catechol in mushrooms and investigated their levels in different fungal structures, different developmental stages and on different nutritional substrates.

(2) J.I. de la Fuente, J.P. Pinzón, L. Guzmán-Dávalos, M.O. Uitzil-Colli, D. Gohar, T. Lebel, M. Bahram & J. García-Jiménez (2021). Revision of the genus Restingomyces, including two new species from Mexico. Mycologia (Publisher’s website).

The paper is the result of a long-standing collaboration to document the truffle diversity in American tropical regions. After a series of field surveys in southeastern Mexico, two new species in the phalloid genus Restingomyces (Trappeaceae, Phallales) were discovered. The authors describe them based on morphology and phylogenetic analyses of molecular data. Restingomyces guzmanianus and R. yaaxtax occur in medium-statured tropical dry forests. The original diagnosis of the genus Restingomyces is emended to include these novel species.

The new South American truffle Restingomyces guzmanianus, A = truffle cut in half, B = outside. Photo: J.I. de la Fuente et al.

New journal article: August 2021 (2)

The State Herbarium of South Australia published one short communication in Vol. 35 of its journal Swainsona online, today, 18 Aug. 2021.

xPhelodia tutelata. Illustration by F.J. Bradley, first published in Rogers (1906).

J. Kellermann & A. Monro, ×Phelodia, a new nothogenus in Australia Orchidaceae. (0.1mb PDF)

The recently published ×Glossadenia tutelata is a hybrid between the well-known orchids Glossodia major and Caladenia deformis. However, the latter species has now been transferred to another genus, Pheladenia. As the International Code of Nomenclature (ICN) prescribes that the names of hybrid genera consist of parts of the names of the parent genera, the hybrid genus ×Glossadenia needs to change its name, when the Caladenia deformis is accepted as Pheladenia deformis. The authors publish the new hybrid genus xPhelodia and the hybrid species xPhelodia tutelata to satisfy the requirements of the ICN.

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 flora.sa.gov.au/swainsona or the Swainsona back-up site.