Collecting on Eyre Peninsula

Stenanthemum leucophractum, photograph of herbarium collection JK743. Photo: J. Kellermann.

State Herbarium of South Australia botanist Jürgen Kellermann and PhD-student Francis Nge recently spent a week on Eyre Peninsula to collect plants, in particular Rhamnaceae (Cryptandra, Pomaderris, Spyridium, Stenanthemum ¹) and Myrtaceae (Calytrix ¹).

Cryptandra sp. Hiltaba, collected north of Cowell. Photo: J. Kellermann.

The State Herbarium is host-institution of a project revising the plant family Rhamnaceae for the Flora of Australia, with Dr Kellermann as the lead investigator. Rhamnaceae is one of the 20 largest plant families in Australia and a well-known component of Australia’s temperate and semi-arid flora: 25 genera and over 250 species occur in Australia (see ABRS 2016 Conference abstract; 1 mb PDF). However, the only Australia-wide treatment available to date is by George Bentham (Flora Australiensis, 1863). Together with interstate colleagues, the family will be examined using molecular and morphological methods. The 3-year project is funded by the Australian Biological Resources Study.

Francis Nge is using Rhamnaceae and Calytrix as case-studies for his PhD thesis on the evolutionary history of the Australian temperate flora. He is based at The University of Adelaide and the State Herbarium.

Calytrix tetragona at Warrow Road. Photo: F. Nge.

Francis & Jürgen traveled mainly in middle and northern Eyre Peninsula, especially the area around Kimba, Pinkawillinie Conservation Park, Cleve, Cowell and Hincks Conservation Park, with a short trip to Wanilla Settlement Reserve. During the field-trip, they collected 168 specimens, many with duplicates, as well as leaves in silica gel for DNA analyses and flowers preserved in 70% ethanol. Almost all collections were documented with close-up photos, habit and habitat shots.

Camping at Wharminda Soaks, near Hincks Conservation Park. Photo: J. Kellermann.

¹ The links provided are to VicFlora genus factsheets, as there are no current South Australian or Australia-wide treatments.

Contributed by botanist Jürgen Kellermann.