Author Archives: Ainsley

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.

World Environment Day 2020

Celebrating Biodiversity on World Environment Day 2020

World Environment Day is an international opportunity to raise issues requiring environmental action. This year, the theme is biodiversity!

Through our own experience here in South Australia with the recent massive bushfires across South Australia concerns about the recovery of biodiversity from the fires is in the front of mind for many members of the community.

The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia has some COVID-19–appropriate options for engagement this year!

Take the quiz‘ on biodiversity available on the Global World Environment Day website to learn more!

Best wishes from the Science and Conservation Team at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium.

Contributed by Michelle Waycott

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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