Imagination can run riot when investigating the microscopic anatomy of algae.
A rather beautiful alga from Western Australia (Cryptonemia species) looks relatively ordinary from the outside—but, when tissues are squashed, expelling the unusual internal cells, a new world of cell shapes is revealed under the microscope.
Cryptonemia sp A99478 habit
Cryptonemia sp A99478 ganglionic cells
What does the image of the large central cell remind you of? It is, in fact, of a ganglioid cell, unique to some members of the family Halymeniaceae. It gets its name because of the resemblance to the shape of a type of nerve cell found in animals, but as far as we know, doesn’t transmit impulses along its long arms as happens with animal ganglionic cells. In fact, the scientific literature is silent on its function.
A similarly unusual cell type from the Kallymeniaceae is the stellate cell.
Kallymenia rubra A35870 habit
Kallymenia rubra A35870 stellate cell
It comes from inside membranous blades, in a similar position to that of ganglioid cells of the Halymeniaceae, and has short, radiating arms. Again, nothing is definitive about its function.
The State Herbarium is geeking out by selecting two native South Australian plants to celebrate Valentine’s Day — Alyogyne hakeifolia (Giord.) Alef. and Arthropodium strictum R.Br. Common names of these two species include Desert Rose and Chocolate Lily. The Australian endemic Alyogyne is closely related to the rose mallows (Hibiscus) and the flowers of Arthropodium gets its common name from having a scent reminiscent of chocolate or vanilla. We have photographed a couple of our herbarium specimens to share these plants with you.
The State Herbarium of South Australia is happy to be hosting another Fungal Identification Workshop—being run by Pam Catcheside on 17 May 2016. This will be a one day workshop with a strictly limited number of places.
The workshop is designed for those who may be involved in the collection, identification and documentation of fungi or who might encounter fungi in the course of their work or research.
There are only a few places remaining, so if you’re interested in attending please apply via the online registration form soon, we will contact you by email as soon as places have been allocated.
On 14–15 April, 2016 a special symposium to celebrate the Past, Present and Future of Botanical Research associated with the State Herbarium of South Australia will be held as a part of the SA NRM Science Conference. Following the symposium, a special issue of the then, newly renamed journal Swainsona will be published containing short review papers of many of these presentations.
Botany 2016 — Past, present and future
Convenor: Michelle Waycott, Chief Botanist, State Herbarium of South Australia