Weed reports from The State Herbarium of South Australia now online

Cardiospermum grandiflorum, a new weed found in Adelaide. Photo: C. Brodie.

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.

For all new records of non-native plants, an annual report is produced by the Weeds Botanists 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, Regional Landscape Surveillance for New Weed Threats Project, 2016-2017: Annual report on new plant naturalisations in South Australia is now available online (3.8mb PDF).

Previous annual reports from 2010 to 2016 have been combined in to one document and are also available (3.7mb PDF).

Nerine sarniensis, an introduced bulb in Belair National Park. Photo: P. Lang.

These reports highlights to land mangers, 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).

Chris Brodie collecting a specimen of Eucalyptus woodwardii near Snowtown. Photo: P. Lang.

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 Cardiospermum grandiflorum, commonly known as Balloon Vine. It is a climbing plant that is spreading along a suburban creek line the suburb of Darlington. An attractive bulb species, Nerine sarniensis (Guernsey Lily), has been found naturalising in Belair National Park.

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 Eucalyptus from W.A. and eastern Australia, including E. campaspe, E. spathulata, E. tricarpa, E. urna and E. woodwardii.

A map of State Herbarium botanical regions of South Australia can be found here.

Any unknown or possible new state or regional weed records should be reported to Chris Brodie (08 8222 9468, 0437 825 685, chris.brodie@sa.gov.au).

Contributed by State Herbarium Weeds Botanist Chris Brodie.

Fruits of the sea

Sometimes, working with algae can be frustrating. Collections come in to the State Herbarium of South Australia from various sources – SA Water, Natural Resource Management groups and Marine Biosecurity, for example. Collecting algae for identification can be a bit of a lottery, however. If essential reproductive stages are missing, and these often can’t be seen by the unaided eye, algal workers at the Herbarium can only provisionally suggest names which is disappointing for both collectors and those attempting the identification. But then, if we are lucky, we can also get samples that are bountifully fruitful, literally smothered in remarkable, although often microscopic, reproductive organs.

Whole plant (left) of Heterosiphonia muelleri and magnified detail (right) of the fluffy appearance. Photo: Bob Baldock.

One such case came from 5 m deep at Cable Hut Bay, near Cape Spencer, southern Yorke Peninsula, collected by James Brook. The alga was dotted with products of sexual reproduction (cystocarps) looking like the fruits of terrestrial plants.

The alga was Heterosiphonia muelleri (Sonder) De Toni in the Dasyaceae, a family named from “dasya” (Greek) meaning “shaggy”, an appropriate description looking in detail at the fluffy branches of this species (see also the Algae Revealed key to common red algae of South Australia, part V, 2.3mb PDF).

Two magnifications of cystocarps, one on a denuded part of the plant, the other with cystocarps nestled amongst threads. Photo: Bob Baldock.

More remarkable than the mass of thin threads covering the plant were the bright orange to red-brown cystocarps. These were stalked, semi-transparent “flasks”, with elegant conical necks through which the spores (carpospores), clustered within, are released to germinate into the next stage of the algal life cycle, an asexual spore plant. Under the microscope they looked “good enough to eat”, but, unfortunately, would not have proved a sumptuous meal, even though numerous.

With such beautifully reproductive material, identification was practically ensured. A look through the microscope showed ranks of large cell alternating with small ones along main branches, characteristic of the family Dasyaceae.

All that remained was to section and stain blue one of the main branches (axes). A central large cell with a ring of 10 small ones, wrapped (corticated) with even smaller ones was present and clinched the identification.

Surface view of a main branch (left) and cross section (right) of the axis of Heterosiphonia muelleri, stained blue and viewed microscopically. Photo: Bob Baldock.

It’s always a pleasure to work with such material, and satisfying when we can be sure of an identification, and I hope this gives you insight into some of the tasks involved in working with algae at the Herbarium.

Contributed by State Herbarium Hon. Associate Bob Baldock.

New journal article & Swainsona Supplement: Nov. 2017

Goodenia asteriscus, flower. Photo: P.J. Lang.

(1) Today, the State Herbarium of South Australia published one paper in the online version of Vol. 31 of Swainsona. The journal was formerly known as the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and was renamed this year.

P.J. Lang & R.J.-P. Davies, Goodenia asteriscus (Goodeniaceae), a new arid zone species from northwestern South Australia and eastern Western Australia (1.6mb PDF).

In this article, the authors describe a new species of Goodenia. The plant is a perennial rosette-forming herb, occuring north-western South Australia and eastern W.A. It was first discovered during vegetation surveys in Western Australia in 2011. Later matching specimens were found in the herbarium collections of the State Herbarium of South Australia and the Western Australian Herbarium. A visit to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the NW of South Australia enabled Peter Lang to collect new material, including the type specimen.

Goodenia asteriscus, habit. Photo: P.J. Lang.

(2) Furthermore, the Proceedings of next week’s joint meeting of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) and the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists (SASB), including the biennial Invertebrate Biodiversity and Conservation Meeting, were published as Supplement no. 5 of Swainsona (5.1mb PDF). More information on the Conference can be found on its web-site systematics.ourplants.org. More than 140 delegated are expected to attend the 3-day meeting.

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.

Two new native plants in South Australia

Eremophila undulata: fruit & flower. Photo: P.J.Lang (left) & J.Kellermann (right).

Two new native vascular plant species have just been added to the Census of South Australian Plants, Algae and Fungi. Both are eastern range extensions of species previously considered as endemic to Western Australia.

They were first recorded in the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands in the North-western Region of the State by the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre and are now supported by new occurrences discovered by State Herbarium botanists on the recent BushBlitz Great Victoria Desert Survey in September.

Eremophila undulata: habit & leaf morphology. Photo: P.J.Lang.

Eremophila undulata Chinnock was described by State Herbarium Honorary Associate Bob Chinnock in 1980 (1mb PDF) and the specific epithet refers to its distinctive undulate leaf margins.

Eremophila undulata is related to Eremophila serrulata and has similar golden-green coloured flowers, but it grows in sandy loams on plains rather than the rocky habitats more typical of the latter.

Sclerolaena eurotioides (F.Muell.) A.J.Scott is unusual in having soft filamentous processes in place of the woody spines that are present on most Sclerolaena fruit. It was found during the Bush Blitz survey on the margin of a clay pan to the south of Serpentine Lakes in Mamungari Conservation Park.

Sclerolaena eurotioides: fruit & habit. Photo: J.Kellermann.

Contributed by State Herbarium botanist Peter Lang.

Happy 40th Birthday to the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide

Friends preparing to Enter Government House

Congratulations to the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide on their 40th birthday which has been celebrated over the last week or so. The Friends, are a volunteer organisation having an impressive membership of more than 900. Members are passionate about the importance of plants which they share during their popular daily guided walks and other volunteering. Volunteers enrich the work we do, the lives we lead and create an amazing connection between the community and out institution.The Friends also contribute to the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia by helming find support for projects and to encourage the next generation of horticulturalists through awards.

Today, at a reception held at Government House, hosted by friend Patron and Governor, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and Mrs Le, the work and commitment of these volunteers was recognised and in the words of the Governor, should continue for another 40 years! Members of the Friends enjoyed afternoon tea and the chance to visit in Government House.

Governor Le, Judy Potter, Mrs Le

Governor Le, Judy Potter, Mrs Le at Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide 40th Birthday Reception

Support by our Friends—formal, informal and by any means—is something we value highly, and I wish to express my thanks to all of you.


Chief Botanist, Professor Michelle Waycott, State Herbarium of South Australia, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium.