Category Archives: News

New seedbank stamps

This month, Australian Post released a new set of three stamps about seed banking in Australia. The stamps feature seeds of rare and threatened Australian plants:

The seed image of the South Australian species were provided by the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium. The Seed Centre collects seeds from regions across the state to safeguard them in long term storage at sub-zero temperatures. By 2020, the centre aims to have at least 90 per cent of SA’s threatened plant species in the seedbank. The Australian Seed Bank Partnership facilitates and coordinates the activities of the country’s seedbanks.

Details on the individual stamps and an article on seed conservation can be found on the Australia Post website.

2018-19 Weeds Report now available

The State Herbarium of South Australia documents all known plant taxa (species, sub-species, varieties and forms) native and naturalised (weedy) in South Australia. These taxa are listed in the Census of South Australian Plants, Algae and Fungi. All newly discovered state and regional records are added to the Census throughout the year. The records are based on preserved plant specimens, verified by a botanists, and housed in the vaults of the State Herbarium.

Acacia cardiophylla from NSW, naturalised in South Australia. Image by Bidgee (CC-BY-SA 2.5 AU).

For all new records of non-native plants, an annual report is produced by the Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie and colleagues from the State Herbarium. The report includes the list of new weeds recorded for South Australia with locations, descriptions, and photographs. Also documented are updates to other taxa that have had a change in distribution, weed status or name. Other activities carried out by Weeds Botanist are also summarised, such as field trips or presentations to community groups.

The latest report is now available online:

Brodie, C.J., Lang, P.J. & Waycott, M. (2019). Regional Landscape Surveillance for New Weed Threats Project, 2018-2019: Annual report on new plant naturalisations in South Australia. (4.2mb PDF).

Also available for download are last year’s 2018 report (4.5mb PDF), as well as the report for 2017 (3.8mb PDF) and a compilation of all reports from 2010 to 2016 (3.7mb PDF).

Callitris oblonga subsp. oblonga growing in the Adelaide Hills. Image by C.J. Brodie showing old fruits.

These reports highlights to land managers, which non-native plant species have recently been found in South Australia and where. New records are listed as either “naturalised/established” (*) or “questionably naturalised/established” (?e).

Naturalised plant taxa are those that have originally been introduced by humans to an area, deliberately or accidentally. They have self-propagated without aid where they are not wanted, possibly spreading by natural means to new areas. An example listed in the recent report is Atriplex amnicola (river saltbush; 365kb PDF) from W.A. or Callitris oblonga subsp. oblonga (South Esk pine), originally from Tasmania. Both of are examples of Australian plants that have become weedy (see also a 1985 article by P.M. Kloot; 733kb PDF).

Questionably Naturalised plant taxa (i.e. possible new weeds) are introduced non-native plants that may be self-propagating without aid, but are not well established or lack data to classify them as naturalised. An example of this are Aloiampelos ciliaris (climbing aloe) and the hybrid Eucalyptus steedmanii × Eucalyptus sp. (Steedman’s mallet hybrid).

Any unknown or possible new state or regional weed records should be reported to Chris Brodie (0437 825 685, chris.brodie@sa.gov.au).

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.

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.

Our botanical bunker

Recently, Chief Botanist, Prof. Michelle Waycott, was interviewed by The Adelaide Review about the history of the State Herbarium of South Australia and its holdings. The resulting article is now available.

Couper, S. (2019). Inside the bunker safeguarding South Australia’s rare plants and botanical history. The Adelaide Review (posted 9 Apr.).

As mentioned in the article, during South Australia’s History Festival, the State Herbarium will also offer guided tours through the old Tram Barn building. Please note that the dates in the above articles are not correct. The tours will take place on Sat., 25 May & Sun., 26 May 2019.

Please go to the History Festival’s website for more information.

The State Herbarium also published the following brochures, which are accessible online:

  • Canty, P. (2012). The old tram barn: A short history of the Tram Barn A, now housing the State Herbarium of South Australia. (1.1mb PDF)
  • Bell, G. (2012). One million and counting: History and special collections of the State Herbarium of South Australia. (0.5mb PDF).