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.
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.
In 2011, Andrew started a project on creating a complete species level phylogeny of the eucalypts (which include the genera Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia). The idea was to sample DNA for as many eucalypt species as possible, combine that data and see how all of the species were related to each other. This week, over seven years later, the project was published.
Thornhill, A.H., Crisp, M.D., Külheim, C., Lam, K.E., Nelson, L.A., Yeate,s D.K., Miller, J.T. (2019). A dated molecular perspective of eucalypt taxonomy, evolution and diversification.Australian Systematic Botany 32: 29-48.
Eucalyptus porosa. Photo: Clive M. Chesson.
There are over 800 described eucalypt species in the world and we are close to soon having 900. Around 1/8th of the total number of eucalypt species are native to South Australia and they grow in the arid and forest areas in an array of habits, be it mallees or trees up in the hills.
The paper presents a dated phylogeny of the Australian eucalypts and a diversification analysis to show if any parts of the eucalypt phylogeny have had accelerated diversification. What Andrew and his colleagues found was that many of the species that grow in the arid and forest areas of southern and south-eastern Australia have only evolved in the last two million years, this includes many of the eucalypt species that grow in South Australia. Their origin comes due to a divergence with Western Australian eucalypts, but that’s not to say that Western Australia is where eucalypts originated. There are even deeper splits in the history of eucalypts that suggests that either south-west Western Australia or south-east Queensland could be the source of origin. One way to find this out may be by finding new ‘oldest’ fossils in either of these places, which would help provide evidence that eucalypts grew there in the deep past.
(1) J.G. Conran, Weird and wonderful plants of South Australia (2.3mb PDF)
This article is published in Vol. 30 of the journal, which contains the Proceedings of the Botany Symposium “Botany 2016 — Past, present and future“, held at the 2016 NRM Science Conference, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State Herbarium.
A new book on the plants of southern Eyre Peninsula has just been published:
Saunders, Brian (2018). Flowering plants of lower Eyre Peninsula: An illustrated tour of the native flora, 200 pp. Camden Park: Lane Print & Post.
The book is a photographic identification guide to the more common plants of the area, with brief notes on their distribution and biology. The southern half of Eyre Peninsula is home to many remarkable plants, including some which are endemic to the region. A list of all EP native plants can be found through the eFloraSA website.