Author Archives: Ainsley

The world within

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.

For more information about the genera with these cell types look at our Algae Revealed series.

Contributed by State Herbarium Honorary Research Associate Bob Baldock.

State Herbarium open days 2017

As in previous years, the State Herbarium of South Australia will be open to the public as part of South Australia’s History Festival, this year on the weekend of 27 & 28 May 2017. The heritage-listed 1909 Tram Barn A was once part of a complex housing the Adelaide tram fleet. Now the State Herbarium, it houses over one million plant specimens instead. See some of the first plants collected in the state on Matthew Flinders’ voyage and learn how all these dried specimens are critical to the effective preservation of living plants.

Read more about Tram Barn A (pdf) and the over one million plant specimens (pdf) in booklets published by the institution.

Guided walking tours will be available on both 27 & 28 May at 11am & 1pm (duration 45–60 minutes, maximum 15 persons per tour).

Bookings are essential — via Eventbrite

Please subscribe to the State Herbarium’s blog to find out more about its activites, events and publications.

Roses and chocolates

Alyogyne hakeifolia (Desert Rose)

We have a botanical theme for celebrating Valentines Day this year in Adelaide which includes extended opening hours for both the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide and Mount Lofty, open until 8 pm. There are also a range of special events including ‘Love Notes’ and pop-ups around the gardens for romantic trysts in Adelaide.

Arthropodium strictum (Chocolate Lily)

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.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Fungal Identification Workshop, 2016

HPV3724The 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.

Botany 2016—symposium details

IMG_2819On 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

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