New special journal volume: July 2019

The orange lichen Teloschistes chrysophthalmus growing with other species on a dead branch. Scale bar 10 mm. Photo: J. Jarman.

Today, the State Herbarium of South Australia published Vol. 32 (2019) in the online version of Swainsona. This issue of the journal contains one large monograph on the lichens of Kangaroo Island:

Kantvilas, G. (2019). An annotated catalogue of the lichens of Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Swainsona 32: 1-97. (27.9mb PDF).

This magnum opus of Hobart-based lichenologist Gintaras Kantvilas, Head of the Tasmanian Herbarium, presents the results of over 10 years of work on the lichens of Kangaroo Island. During this time, the author undertook extensive fieldwork and reviewed more than 1500 herbarium specimens. The lichen flora of Kangaroo Island consists of 366 taxa, of which 14 are restricted to the island. Ninety-five species are reported for South Australia for the first time, of which 19 are also new records for Australia.

This landmark study is the first to thoroughly examine and document the lichens of the Kangaroo Island. Each species is listed with a short, diagnostic description, many are illustrated with photographs. All specimens used to compile the catalogue of lichens are listed, making this publication an invaluable tool for future research. A brief history of lichenological work on the island is included, as well as a description of the habitats that lichens occur in.

Hardcopy of this special issue “Lichens of Kangaroo Island” will be printed soon and should be available next month. More information on Dr Kantvilas’ project can also be found in a paper he wrote for the Proceedings of the Botany SymposiumBotany 2016 — Past, present and future“ (Swainsona 30: 17-24; 3.3mb PDF).

Granite boulders with orange lichens along the coast of Dudley Peninsula. Photo: G. Kantvilas.

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.

Compiled by State Herbarium Botanist Jürgen Kellermann.

Pitcher plant book launched

Cephalotus follicularis, unusual white form. Photo: M. Waycott.

Yesterday, the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium hosted the launch of a new publication on one of Australia’s iconic carnivorous plants:

Cross, A., Kalfas, N., Nunn, R. & Conran, J. (2019). Cephalotus: The Albany pitcher plant. (Redfern Natural History Productions: Poole, UK).

The Albany pitcher plant, Cephalotus follicularis was first described by the French botanist J.J.H. de Labillardiere from specimens collected by Leschenault de la Tour on Baudin‘s expedition to Australia. It had also been collected by Robert Brown during Flinder‘s voyage. The species is the only one in the genus Cephalotus (i.e. it is monotypic), which in turn is the only genus in the family Cephalotaceae (in the order Oxalidales), making it a truly remarkable species, not closely related to any other carnivorous plant.

“Cephalotus: The Albany pitcher plant” is the first comprehensive monograph on this unique species, featuring chapters on its botanical history, systematic and evolution, detailed botanical descriptions, illustrations and photographs, discussions of the plant’s morphology, ecology and genetics, as well as sections on conservation and cultivation of Cephalotus. The book is available from the publisher’s website.

Cephalotus follicularis, line-drawing by Alastair Robinson.

Cephalotus is instantly recognisable for its distinctive and charismatic insect-trapping leaves. It is unique amongst carnivorous plants worldwide, being the only carnivorous plant in the rosid clade of flowering plants and the only monotypic family and genus of pitcher plants. Taking into account its extreme genetic and geographic isolation in the southwest of Western Australia, its pitcher leaves represent perhaps the most astounding example of convergent evolution amongst carnivorous plants, their toothed mouths and overarching lids being highly reminiscent of Nepenthes tropical pitcher plants and American pitcher plants alike. Cephalotus is extremely localised, surviving in only a fragment of its historic range as a result of habitat loss, disruption of natural ecological succession, and poaching.

From the publisher’s website.

Large group of Cephalotus follicularis pitchers. Photo: M. Waycott.

The authors are: Adam Cross (Curtin University), Nick Kalfas & John Conran (both from The University of Adelaide) and Richard Nunn (a member of the Board of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia). Editor of the book was Alastair Robinson (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria). The preface was written by the Chief Botanist and Head of the State Herbarium, Michelle Waycott.

Tonight, Lauren Black, one of the artists who were commissioned to produce artwork for the book, will give an “Artist Talk” about her watercolour of Cephalotus (unfortunately sold out). The line-drawings of Cephalotus were prepared by Alastair Robinson, who won the second price of the prestigious Margaret Flockton Award with his illustration, this year.

Cephalotus follicularis, watercolour by Lauren Black.

Compiled by State Herbarium Botanist Jürgen Kellermann.

Queen’s Birthday Honours

The 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list included two names with a close relationship to the State Herbarium of South Australia: Bev Overton and Peter Copley. Bev received the award of Member of the Order of Australia, and Peter received the award of Public Service Medal.

Bev and Dean Overton in their natural habitat (Photo: KI NRM).

Back in February 2016, the State Herbarium did a blog article on Kangaroo Island couple Bev and Dean Overton. The story congratulated them for being recognised as Kangaroo Island high achievers for their outstanding efforts in conserving and raising awareness of KI’s natural environment at the Local Achievers Natural Resource Management Board Awards ceremony held on Australia Day that year.

Richard Tretheway (NRM Board President), Bev and Dean Overton, Damian Miley (DEWNR) (Photo: KI NRM).

Last year the Herbarium was approached by Kangaroo Island environmental consultant and botanist Michelle Haby to help support a nomination for Bev Overton to receive recognition in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. The final nomination was put together and submitted by Michelle and Bev’s husband Dean. Sadly Dean died unexpectedly before the news of Bev’s successful nomination was known.

You can read more of Bev’s impressive nomination here (156kb PDF). An article in THE ISLANDER newspaper also appeared recently.

Peter’s medal recognises his contribution and commitment of more than 40 years to help conserve threatened species and ecological communities in South Australia, as well as his role in biodiversity research and policy development. Peter reviewed the daisy genus Ixodia for his Honours at the University of Adelaide and has contributed 3601 collections to the State Herbarium over the years. His interest in botany was no doubt inspired by his father Bruce Copley, a Yorke Peninsula farmer who pursued an interest in his local native flora by collecting and submitting many specimens to the Herbarium.

Peter Copley (left image, Courtesy of THE WEEKLY). Peter Canty, Peter Copley and Peter Lang botanising in the APY Lands in 1994 (right image).

Manager Peter Canty and Senior Botanist Peter Lang have worked closely together with Peter over many of those years, especially when they were part of the Biological Survey of South Australia program. Peter Copley lead the over decade-long biological survey of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. The knowledge captured by that survey was greatly enhanced by working with Aboriginal Traditional Owners and Peter’s ability to establish close working relationships with the elders and their communities was pivotal in this particular survey’s success, and being recognised with a SA Great Award in 2003 in the Environment Category for an ‘Outstanding Contribution to South Australia’.

Read more of Peter’s impressive nomination.

The Herbarium was very pleased to be involved in their nominations and wishes to congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition.

Written by State Herbarium Manager Peter Canty.

New journal article: June 2019

SEM of the a cluster of coronulate papillae on the lower leaf surface of Akania bidwillii. Image: J.G. Conran.

Today, the State Herbarium of South Australia published one article in the online version of Swainsona.

J.M. Bannister & J.G. Conran, Comparative leaf morphology and cuticular anatomy of Akania bidwillii (Akaniaceae) (6.7mb PDF)

The authors publish an illustrated description of the leaves of the monotypic genus Akania, which is endemic to eastern Australia. Together with the the genus Bretschneidera from China, Vietnam and India, which is also monotypic, it forms the small family Akaniaceae.

This paper presents the first detailed analysis of the leaf and cuticle morphology of the species. The results are compared to recently discovered Akaniaceae fossil leaves from South America. This year, the authors also published a paper on the first discovery of fossil Akania inflorescence and flowers from New Zealand.

Akania bidwillii, growing in rainforest at Hayters Hill Nature Reserve, N.S.W. Photo: J.G. Conran.

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.

Grasses keys online

Several years ago, the State Herbarium of South Australia published Grasses of South Australia by J.P. Jessop, G.R.M. Dashorst & F.M. James in collaboration with Wakefield Press. This is the well-known standard work on the grass family Poaceae for the State and can also be used in adjacent regions of other States.

KeyBase is a database and web application for managing and deploying interactive pathway keys. It presents traditional dichotomous keys in a new way online. In addition to standalone keys, KeyBase also delivers identification keys to the new  online Flora of Australia and VicFlora.

Keys to the South Australian Flora are currently being added to Keybase. Last week, Kat Ticli from the State Herbarium completed the conversion of the keys to species in Grasses of South Australia and uploaded them to KeyBase. Poaceae is one of the largest plant families in the State. Having this key and others online will enable easy access to this information and be helpful to anyone wanting to identify the native and naturalised grasses of South Australia.

Click here to enter the Grasses of South Australia KeyBase project.