Bush Blitz Lake Torrens (2)

During the last two weeks, State Herbarium of South Australia staff participated at the Bush Blitz expedition to Lake Torrens. For the second week of the survey, Helen Vonow and Jürgen Kellermann joined the Bush Blitz team, replacing Chelsea Tothill and Chris Brodie who returned to Adelaide. Peter Lang and Dave Armstrong stayed for the full two weeks of the trip. In addition, mycologist Teresa Lebel from the National Herbarium of Victoria joined the expedition.

Botanist Peter Lang with plant presses full of collections, waiting to board the helicopter to be taken to another site. Photo: J. Kellermann.

Fieldwork was taken to another level in this second week, by the availability of two helicopters. The botany team took full advantage of this and used them to reach sites that were inaccessible by car, or particularly remote.

A field of Polycalymma stuartii (poached egg daisy) near Andamooka Homestead. Photo: J. Kellermann.

Due to the good season with much winter rain, conditions in the area were excellent. Green was the predominant colour in this “desert”. Red sand dunes boasted displays of flowering shrubs and daisies, while gibber plains were clothed with small ephemeral daisies and peas.

State Herbarium botanists filled their presses every day with plants to document the flora of the Bush Blitz expedition area. The collections are currently drying and will be examined in due course.

Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. It is the world’s first continent-scale biodiversity survey, providing the knowledge needed to help us protect Australia’s unique animals and plants for generations to come.