Victoria’s yellow-lip spider-orchid isn’t quite what you’d expect: it’s tiny, green and grows a potato-like tuber. It’s also vanishingly rare. Ann Jones learns how these minute plants illustrate ecosystem complexity—without a specific fungus, a specific wasp and a specific grub there can be no orchid.
WHEN the young Philip Clarke arrived at the South Australian Museum as a volunteer worker in 1982, it was a musty, eccentric place, with a diverse range of near-forgotten treasures packed away. The Aboriginal artefact stores were housed in the east wing basement of the main building on Adelaide’s North Terrace. Here, in the “crypt”, a dark, dusty vault smelling strongly of naphthalene, Clarke began the researches that would shape and guide his life over the next three decades.
Having abseiled into a deep rainforest gorge in the Blue Mountains, bushwalker David Noble found himself surrounded by strange conifers with leaves like fern fronds and bark like a chocolate crackle. He had never seen such trees before and so Noble – who also happened to be a parks and wildlife officer – pocketed a leaf.
Surely one of the worst things to say to an artist wanting to paint a flower that looks alive enough to pick, is that looks like it has been cut for a week. When botanist Alex George dared make such an utterance to Celia Rosser early on in their Monash Banksia Project it was a turning point. Immediately, the artist, who left school when she was 14 and had forged a career between cutting kids lunches, washing clothes and preparing dinner, determined that she would not remain for another minute in the studio while others collected her specimens.
WeedFutures is a decision-support tool that provides users with the ability to interrogate individual profiles for over 500 non-native naturalised and invasive plant species within Australia and assess weed threats for regions of interest under current and predicted future climates.
FIRE has the potential to increase the range and severity of Phytophthora dieback in native plant communities infected with the disease, suggests a study at the Stirling Range National Park near Albany.
Research into the germination requirements of four Banksia species (Proteaceae) endemic to the South West Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR) has found certain species may be more vulnerable to climate change than others.
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