Indigenous Australian practices, honed over thousands of years, weave science with storytelling. In this Indigenous science series, we look at different aspects of First Australians' traditional life and uncover the knowledge behind them. In this installment, we examine some medicinal plants and ceremonies.
There are calls for a national plan to fight the fugal disease myrtle rust, which is destroying native trees and, experts say, has the potential to cause regional extinction of iconic Australian animals.
Banksia plants are Australian emblems, famous for their colourful flowers and dark, knobbly seed pods — the inspiration of May Gibbs’ big bad banksia men. Just like those banksia men, unerringly creepy after all those decades, their real-life counterparts may be just as resilient to the impacts of climate change.
LOCAL researchers have unravelled the germination secrets of WA’s strangely-named snottygobble tree (Persoonia longifolia R.Br.), thereby opening the door for the species to help rehabilitate WA’s landscape.
The Florilegium Society at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Inc was formed to create a florilegium, a collection of contemporary botanical paintings of some of the most significant plants in the living collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.
For traditional medicinal purposes Aboriginal Australians have utilised numerous plant species, Eremophila alternifolia is among the most prominent. Traditionally, fresh leaves, leaf-infusions and handmade leaf-pastes have been used
Urban development often results in the ‘clean up’ of existing trees for construction access, neatness or reducing the risk of damage to surrounding property from falling branches or bushfire. Now researchers are warning that, as the world’s cities lose their large old trees, native wildlife that depend on those trees for food and shelter will also be in jeopardy.
Substantial climate changes are evident across Australia, with declining rainfall and rising temperature in conjunction with frequent fires. Considerable species loss and range contractions have been predicted; however, our understanding of how genetic variation may promote adaptation in response to climate change remains uncertain.
Tree invasions have substantial impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and trees that are dispersed by animals are more likely to become invasive. In addition, hybridisation between plants is well documented as a source of new weeds, as hybrids gain new characteristics that allow them to become invasive. Corymbia torelliana is an invasive tree with an unusual animal dispersal mechanism: seed dispersal by stingless bees, that hybridizes readily with other species. We examined hybrids between C. torelliana and C. citriodora subsp. citriodora to determine whether hybrids have inherited the seed dispersal characteristics of C. torelliana that allow bee dispersal.
For thousands of years Australia’s aborigines thrived on the country’s wide variety of flora and fauna. Their diet included lillipilli, kangaroo apples and bush tomatoes – foods which few of today’s Australians are likely to have heard of let alone tasted.
Australian honey producers are set for a liquid billion-dollar global gold rush with new research investigating healing and anti-inflammatory properties in the flowering nectar of trees across Australia.
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