New Journal article: Jan. 2024

Amanita muscaria in native vegetation on Kangaroo Island. Photo: J. Haska.

Today, 24 Jan. 2024, the State Herbarium of South Australia published the first article in this year’s volume of its journal Swainsona, Vol. 38.

T. Lebel, T.W. May, J.A. Cooper, D. Catcheside, P. Catcheside & J. Haska. Confirming the presence of five exotic species of Amanita in Australia and New Zealand (32.4mb PDF).

The authors of this study examined and viewed herbarium collections and citizen scientists’ records (e.g. iNaturalist, FungiMap) of exotic Amanita in Australia and New Zealand and undertook a molecular phylogenetic analysis of selected samples. They conclude that there are three introduced species in both countries and two more species in New Zealand only. Often other names of northern hemisphere taxa have been applied here, but these are considered misidentifications. Descriptions, notes, photos and distribution maps are provided for all five species. All five exotic Amanita species are considered toxic and not edible: Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) and A. phalloides (death cap) are the most well-known of these.

In a poisoning emergency phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

AUSTRALIA – 13 11 26

NEW ZEALAND – 0800 764 766

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


New journal articles: Dec. 2023

Amyema miquelii flowers. Photo J.G. Conran.

The State Herbarium of South Australia wishes all followers of the blog, its  volunteers, staff, Hon. Research Associates and Research Affiliates a very happy Christmas break and all the best for the New Year. We hope to see you all again in 2024.

The Herbarium also published two articles in Vol. 37 of the online version of its journal Swainsona today, Chistmas Eve, 24 Dec. 2023.

Ptilotus durus at Arckaringa Station. Photo: D.J. Duval.

(1) T.R. Lally, Ptilotus durus (Amaranthaceae), a new species from northern South Australia (3.3mb PDF).

The author from the Australian National Herbarium (Canberra) describes a new species of Ptilotus from Arckaringa Station in the north of South Australia. It is currently it is known only from a single population on a gypseous breakaway escarpment. The species was first recognised in 2010, during fieldwork of the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre.

(2) P.J. Lang, J.G. Conran & T.D. Macfarlane, Alyogyne leptochlamys comb. et stat. nov. (Malvaceae): clarification and species rank for an often overlooked taxon from western South Australia and Western Australia (9.3mb PDF).

In this paper, the authors from Adelaide and Perth clarify uncertainties about a taxon that has been confused in South Australia with the Western Australian Hibiscus huegelii (Endl.) Fryxell. It was also known as Hibiscus huegelii var. leptochlamys Benth. and Alyogyne pinoniana var. microandra in the past. The taxon is published here at species level, described, illustrated and distinguished from related species.

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

Patrick Brownsey (1948–2023) remembered

Pat Brownsey in 2019. Photo: Mike Dickinson, CC-BY-SA (Wikipedia).

World-renowned fern expert Pat Brownsey passed away earlier this month. He was well-known and -liked among his colleagues in New Zealand and Australia. In 2017 he received the Nancy Burbidge Medal, the highest award for botanists in Australasia (issued by the Australasian Systematic Botany Society).

Our colleagues from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa posted this tribute to his work and his contributions to botany and to the Museum.

A true sea “weed”

Undaria pinnatifida, fresh specimen before preservation. Photo: R.N. Baldock.

Several weeks ago, Fiona McQueen, one of our volunteers who works in the Phycology Unit of the State Herbarium of South Australia, discovered the invading brown algal species Undaria pinnatifida growing on the pontoon of the marina at Robe in the SE of South Australia.

The species is a declared noxious weed in South Australia and is listed on the national Australian Priority Marine Pest List. The species is one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.

Undaria pinnatifida, also known as Japanese kelp or wakame, is endemic to Japan, where is has been cultivated for centuries as an edible delicacy. It has established in temperate regions throughout the world, including North and South American coasts, and of several European countries. Japanese kelp has also spread across the Pacific, reaching New Zealand and southern Australia, where it has become an opportunistic pest, readily colonising disturbed areas.

For a while, South Australia appears to have avoided the invasion that occurred in Tasmanian and Victorian cold-water coasts; the closest record was from Portland, Vic. From its appearance on Robe’s harbour facility, it is likely that it was transported here on the hulls of boats. The species has a microscopic sexual phase that could easily have been transported that way.

Although Undaria pinnatifida resembles our common kelp, Ecklonia radiata, it can be readily identified when mature because of the spore-bearing frills (sporophylls) wrapped around the base of the stalk.

The species has now been added to the South Australian Census of Plants, Algae & Fungi. The Department of Primary Industries and Regions’ (PIRSA) Biosecurity Division is working on a response to this invasive species. Any detections of Undaria pinnatifida outside of the Robe Marina and Cape Jaffa Anchorage should be reported to FishWatch on 1800 065 522.

Undaria pinnatifida, root-like holdfast showing frilly sporophylls. Photo: R.N. Baldock.

Compiled by Hon. Associate Bob Baldock.

New Swainsona articles: Oct. 2023

Hibbertia fulva, a new species described by T.A. Hammer.

Today, 10 Oct. 2023, the State Herbarium of South Australia published three articles in Vol. 37 of the online version of its journal Swainsona.

(1) T.A. Hammer, Hibbertia fulva (Dilleniaceae), a new species from the Northern Territory in the H. banksii species group (3.5mb PDF).

Tim Hammer (State Herbarium & The University of Adelaide) describes a new species of Hibbertia from north of Pine Creek in the Northern. Territory. It is related to Hibbertia banksii (a species group that was recently revised by H.R. Toelken) and is only known from three collections from a mine lease.

Styphelia browniae, a new species named after NSW botanist Elizabeth Brown (1956–2013).

(2) M. Hislop, Four new species of Western Australian Styphelia (Ericaceae: Epacridoideae: Styphelieae) from the S. marginata subgroup (9.6mb PDF).

With this paper, Mike Hislop (Western Australian Herbarium) continues his description of new species in Styphelia, following a recent molecular analysis, which lead to a new circumscription of the tribe that contains Styphelia. Four new species and Styphelia marginata are described and illustrated; all of them occur in Western Australia.

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