2017-18 Weeds report now online

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.

Population of Chasmanthe aethiopica at Penneshaw (C.J.Brodie 7912), a new weed recorded for South Australia. Photos: C.J. Brodie.

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., Canty, P.D. & Waycott, M. (2018). Regional Landscape Surveillance for New Weed Threats Project, 2017-2018: Annual report on new plant naturalisations in South Australia. (4.5mb PDF).

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

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 Chasmanthe aethiopica (small cobra lily) or Eucalyptus densa subsp. densa. It is an attractive red-flowered bulbous herbaceous perennial plant. It was found naturalised on the upper dunes at Penneshaw beach on Kangaroo Island. This is the first record of this taxa growing wild in Australia.

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 in the report are a selection of species of eucalypts from W.A. and eastern Australia, including: E. eremophila subsp. eremophila, E. forrestiana, E stoatei and E. torquata.

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

Contributed by State Herbarium Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie.

Darrell Nairn Kraehenbuehl 21.1.1934 – 2.8.2018

Darrell at State Herbarium vaults obtaining records to assess regional conservation status. Photo: P.J.Lang.

Darrell Kraehenbuehl, a botanist, historian and naturalist who had a long association with the State Herbarium of South Australia, died earlier this month.

Darrell first became involved as a plant collector in 1957 soon after the establishment of the State Herbarium, and over the ensuing years contributed over 7000 collections. He also wrote the botanical history section prefacing the 1986 edition of the Flora of South Australia (Kraehenbuehl 1986), as well as a number of stand-alone papers on notable South Australian botanists.

At age 19 Darrell became a foundation member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia. He was also an active member and one-time president of the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia. Darrell drew on his detailed knowledge of the flora to help secure the conservation of many areas now protected as National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.

In the 1980s and 90s he worked in the Native Vegetation Management Branch of the then Department of Environment and Planning where he pioneered assessments of plant conservation status within specific regions, a crucial tool in assessing vegetation clearance applications.

He was also influential as a popular speaker, sharing his knowledge of the State’s flora and remnant native vegetation with numerous local groups and schools.

Left: Darrell taking field notes in scrub at Desert Camp (now Conservation Park). Right: with Crinum flaccidum at Murtho Native Forest Reserve. Photos: P.J.Lang.

Darrell’s early interest in the flora of the Adelaide plains began as diversions into remnant patches whilst on delivery runs in a scrap-metal business with his stepfather. It culminated in the publication of his definitive and highly acclaimed book documenting the pre-European vegetation of the Adelaide Plains (Kraehenbuehl 1996).

In 1998 Pultenaea kraehenbuehlii, a bush-pea endemic to the Tothill Ranges, was named in honour of Darrell and in recognition of his botanical exploration of that area (see also original description of the species in the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens; 776kb PDF).

Pultenaea kraehenbuehlii photographed by Darrell in the Tothill Ranges, Northern Lofty Region.

A more detailed account of Darrell is available here from a speech by State Herbarium honorary associate Bill Barker on the occasion of Darrell’s retirement in 1999.

Darrell was a colourful character who is remembered for his diverse contributions to botany and passionate commitment to plant conservation, as well as his sense of humour, generous nature and infectious enthusiasm.

Contributed by State Herbarium botanist Peter Lang.

Key Publications

Kraehenbuehl, D.N. (1986). History of botany in South Australia (1800-1955). In: Jessop, J.P. & Toelken, H.R. (eds), Flora of South Australia. Fourth Edition. Part 1, pp. 13-39. Government Printer: Adelaide. (0.9mb PDF)

Kraehenbuehl, D.N. (1996). Pre-European vegetation of Adelaide: a survey from the Gawler River to Hallett Cove. 317 pp. Nature Conservation Society of South Australia: Adelaide. (see book review).

Lang, P.J. & Kraehenbuehl, D.N. (1987). Plants of Particular Conservation Significance in South Australia’s Agricultural Regions: interim report. 178 pp. South Australian Dept. of Environment and Planning: Adelaide.

Callitris gracilis woodland, The Pinery, Grange. Original slide taken by Darren Kraehenbuehl in 1955.

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.

New Journal articles: May 2018

Today, the State Herbarium of South Australia published two articles in the online version of Swainsona.

In Vol. 30 we continue to publish papers from the Proceedings of the Botany SymposiumBotany 2016 — Past, present and future“, which was held at the 2016 NRM Science Conference. to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State Herbarium.

(1) G.R. Guerin, M.J. Christmas, B. Sparrow & A.J. Lowe, Projected climate change implications for the South Australian flora (0.6mb PDF).

The authors explore the implications of climatic warming for individual plant species and the State’s plant biodiversity. As case study they use Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima. The authors conclude that significant climate change will influence ecophysiology, leading to changes in primary productivity and water stress. This is predicted to ultimately lead to lower species richness, altered species composition and more uneven abundances.

Vol. 31 of Swainsona contains one new taxonomic paper.

Type specimen of Lindernia scapigera, collected by Robert Brown in 1802 and examined by Bill Baker for his paper. Photo: Natural History Museum, London (CC-BY 4.0).

(2) W.R. Barker, Notes on the taxonomy of Australian Lindernia subg. Didymadenia (Linderniaceae) (1.3mb PDF).

Subgenus Didymadenia (Linderniaceae) contains the majority of taxa of Lindernia that occur in Australia. Bill Barker divides the subgenus into five sections and describes 22 new species. The typification of 5 existing taxa is discussed and resolved. This paper is partly based on the most recent phylogeny of Lindernia by Ed Biffin and co-authors, which will be published shortly in Australian Systematic Botany. It is a precursor to a forthcoming larger study of the genus.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at flora.sa.gov.au/swainsona.

The next 10 years — a new vision for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand

It is so exciting!! Last Friday (27 April) we launched “Discovering Biodiversity—a decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand 2018–2027”. A small group of South Australians joined around 50 others to attend the launch at Parliament House in Canberra and a follow-up meeting to discuss the future implementation of the plan at The Shine Dome.

Artwork Decadal Plan by David Stacey

Since late 2012 dedicated and committed people from Australia and New Zealand worked together to get the plan underway. Following a grass-roots startup, we are fortunate that in last 18 months Kevin Thiele has coordinated a wide range of engagement and consultation. Teleconferences, online discussions, workshops at conferences and online writing sessions were held. Kevin also launched a taxonomy blog site noto|biotica, through which some big ideas, concepts and discussion was facilitated. Supported by the Working Group and an Advisory Committee the generation of the plan was highly collaborative and yet benefited from the unified voice Kevin gave the overall process.

Kevin was a champion at getting us to all share ideas, opinions and also to listen and convey to the community of ideas and to form a biosystematics community driven mission for the next decade. The professionalism of the Australian Academy of Science and the New Zealand Royal Society Te Apārangi, helped elevate the decadal plan Discovering Biodiversity to give us all a chance to see a way forward. The plan covers biodiversity from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of the mountains and will pave the way for coordination of new initiatives and to consolidate the immense body of work we already deliver…

I want to encourage everyone to read the plan, and also to enjoy the document itself, a great visual piece of work and well illustrated with images of the biodiversity of Australia and New Zealand! Also enjoy the artwork commissioned for the cover, Abundance by David Stacey. [Download full resolution (19MB) or smaller version (4.2MB)]. The forward by David Attenborough emphasises not only the role of taxonomy and biosystematics but the importance of recognising and valuing our biodiversity…

Also checkout the short video with David Attenborough to grab your interest!

Contributed by Michelle Waycott