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fostering research into
the biology and
cultivation of Australian
10 New Series
The April meeting of the Council of the Foundation
had as its main line of business short-listing the preliminary applications
We had 18 applications in all, covering as usual areas as diverse
as for example regeneration strategies, working on the origins
(outside Australia) of what have been regarded as native Australian
plants, to using market forces to aid conservation. Support for
research on alpine plants has been encouraged by a grant of $5,000
from the ANPS Canberra Regional Council, and this was borne in
mind during the deliberations. In the end six applicants were
asked to submit full proposals. These will go to the Scientific Research
Committee, and their recommendations will inform the final decision
as to which applications can be funded. This decision will be
in August. I should like to personally thank each of you for
making it possible to ‘Foster research into the biology and cultivation
of the Australian flora’.
The Foundation belatedly acknowledges with gratitude a generous
bequest to the Research Fund from the Estate of the late Mrs
Eileen Croxford was a well-known lover of Australian plants and
an environmental campaigner in the Albany area of WA. In 1963
she convened the first meeting
of the Albany Branch of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia.
She was extremely active in the Branch, serving as President, Vice
President, Treasurer/Secretary, Branch Delegate and Herbarium
Coordinator. Her efforts
led to the establishment of the Albany Regional Herbarium in 1979 – the
first Regional Herbarium in Western Australia. One of Eileen’s
legacies is the 8,000 plus flora specimens collected by her and housed
in the herbarium. She also discovered several new species of plants.
Eileen Croxford’s community and environmental work has been
recognized by the bestowing on her of a number of awards, including
of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia, Quiet Achievers Award,
Parliamentary Medal, Town of Albany Citizens Award, CALM Volunteers
Appreciation Certificate, and the Australian Plants Award (Amateur
Young Scientist prizes for 2008
The Australian Flora Foundation awards prizes each
year to encourage young scientists to further their interest or careers
science relating to Australian flora. Two prizes are awarded at each
of the Ecological Society of Australia, and two at each biennial
meeting of the Australian Society of Horticultural Science. At each
one prize is awarded to the under or postgraduate student who gives
the best talk, and one to the under or postgraduate student who presents
the best poster, provided the Society considers the presentations
are of suitable merit.
The Ecological Society of Australia Young Scientist prizes for 2008
were: Talk: Christina Czembor, University of Melbourne. “Can we be certain?
Using expert models to manage Box-Ironbark forests”. Poster: Tanya
Bailey, University of Tasmania. “Use of fire, cultivation and
coarse woody debris as restoration techniques in Tasmanian dry forests”.
Thank you to our donors
Without the generous support of our donors and benefactors the Foundation
would not be able to carry out its research objectives. Donations of
$2 and over are tax-deductible.
The Council would like to sincerely thank the following people and
organizations who have recently made donations to the Research Fund:
Australian Plants Society Newcastle Group NSW; Australian Plants Society
NSW Region; Australian Plants Society Sutherland Group NSW; Australian
Plants Society SA Region; Australian Plants Society Wangaratta Branch
Vic; SGAP Mackay Branch Qld; Mr Philip Cameron; Prof. H. Clifford;
Mr Ian Cox; Mr Rodney Cragie; Mrs Hazel Dempster; Mr Phillip Esdale;
Esson; Mr Frank Gleason; Dr Peter Goodwin; Alan and Jan Hall; Dr Margaret
Johnston; Mrs E. King; Mr Patrick Laher; Mrs Margaret Lee; Dr Paddy
Lightfoot; Dr Geoffrey Long; Dr Peter McGee; Shirley Pipitone; Dr M.
Reed; Mr W.
Reed; Mr Gordon Rowland; Mr J. Scown; Mr Abe Segal; Judith Smith; Mr
Ross Smyth-Kirk; Mrs Diana Snape; Prof. Acram Taji; Dr A. Wheeler;
Dr Tim Wood.
Scientific publications from research
supported by the Foundation
Abstracts of the following publications based on work funded by
the Foundation have recently been added to the website:
M. Tibbett, M.H. Ryan, S.J. Barker, Y. Chen, M.D. Denton, T. Edmonds-Tibbett & C.
Walker. The diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizas of selected Australian
Fabaceae. An abstract can be found here. It appeared in Plant Biosystems,
2008, Vol. 142, No. 2, pp. 420–427
A.K. Ahmed, K.A. Johnson, M.D.
Burchett and B.J.Kenny. The effects of heat, smoke, leaching, scarification,
temperature and NaCl salinity on the germination of Solanum
centrale (the Australian bush tomato). An abstract
can be found here. It
appeared in Seed Science & Technology (2006) 34: 33-45
of Final Reports
Each year the Australian Flora Foundation funds
a number of grants for research into the biology and cultivation
the grants are not usually large, they are often vital in enabling
such projects to be undertaken. Many of the projects are conducted
or postgraduate students, hopefully stimulating their interest
in research into Australia’s flora. This work is only made
possible by the generous support of donors and benefactors.
Presented here are brief summaries of completed projects. Full
reports of these and other projects can be accessed on the Foundation’s
Cultivation of Native
Potatoes (Platysace spp.). Woodall G.S.(1), Moule M.L.(1), Eckersley
P.(2), Boxshall B.(1) and Puglisi B.(1)
of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, The University
of Western Australia, Albany WA 2: Eckersley Rural Consulting
Tubers of Platysace deflexa, collected north-east of Albany
The flora of Western Australia contains an extraordinary number
of species that form root tubers. Over 85% of 153 tuberous
Australia occur in the south west of the state. This diversity
provided an unparalleled resource from which new horticultural
crops could be
Field observation and available information were used to make
an assessment of species in regard to their unambiguous history
vigour, reproductive vigour and likely ease of propagation.
Attributes such as size, colour, flavour, texture and abundance
of the potential
product were also assessed. This approach suggested that a
target group comprised of Platysace deflexa, Ipomoea
calobra and Haemodorum
spicatum were worthy contenders for further study.
systems for all three target
species were developed and a commercial field production system
developed for I. calobra.
deflexa is in pilot production trials, and both I.
and P. deflexa have been readily accepted by consumers. Haemodorum
spicatum has been
less readily accepted, because of its fibrous texture and bitter
Land-use legacies in the Woohlpooer
State Forest: The potential for recovery of herbaceous vegetation
after release from a
of sheep grazing
in a species-rich woodland. Jodi N. Price, Nathan
Wong and John W. Morgan Department of Botany, La Trobe University,
We examined the response of understorey plant communities
to the removal of sheep grazing in a herb-rich Eucalyptus
camaldulensis (Red Gum)
woodland in western Victoria. Impacts of stock grazing on native
in temperate southern Australia are well documented. However,
is known about the potential of ecosystems to recover after
a long history
of stock grazing and, in particular, whether the removal of
stock will have positive, negative or neutral impacts on biodiversity.
Using a space-for-time chronosequence, woodlands were stratified
into groups based on their time-since-grazing removal; these
(>20 years), intermediate-time since grazing (9-14 years), recently
grazed (5 years) and continuously grazed. We found significantly higher
species richness in long-ungrazed sites (>20 years) relative
to sites with a more recent grazing history. No differences
richness between continuously grazed sites and those grazed
in the previous 14 years. Species composition differed with
and indicator species analysis detected several native species
with long-ungrazed sites that were absent or in low abundance
in the more recently grazed sites. Continuously grazed sites
significantly associated with several exotic species. Removal
of sheep grazing
Red Gum woodlands can have positive benefits for understorey
it is likely that recovery of key indicators such as native
species will be slow.
Epacris impressa Labill.: Inoculation
of cuttings with ericoid mycorrhizal fungus and DNA fingerprinting
Cassandra McLean, Dr Gregory Moore Department of Resource Management
University of Melbourne
Epacris impressa Labill. is
an attractive heathland shrub endemic to the state of Victoria,
South Australia and
Tasmania and southern New South Wales. The plant has showy
red, pink or white flowers for most of the winter and has potential
in landscaping and revegetation, as well as a cutflower. Flower
colours fall into three general flower colour races: red, pink
(Stace & Fripp
1977a, 1977c, 1977b). Like all members of the Ericaceae, E.
impressa forms a symbiotic relationship with fungi that
colonise its hair
roots. It is primarily an outcrossing species with some
examples of selfing occuring in each population (Fripp 1982;
O'Brien, S. P. & Calder
1989). Few nurseries propagate E. impressa since it has proved
difficult to grow
from cuttings or seed. Strike rates are often as low as 10%
and seed germination often fails. Selection of propagation
material for revegetation purposes is usually determined by
and provenance delineation is not based on genetic traits.
This study examined the use of ericoid mycorrhizal
fungus as an inoculum to stimulate root and shoot production
The fungus did
not provide any benefits to root and shoot growth or health,
methods for improved propagation success rates were developed
during the experiments.
Genetic fingerprinting techniques were also used to examine
relationships between geographic sites and flower colour populations
aid in provenance determination. Results indicated that E.
impressa has a
high level of both inter-site and intra-site genetic diversity.
The red and
white floral races had a high level of shared genetic traits
the pink-flowered race had a more distinct genetic identity.
The results suggested that the pink-flowered populations have
floral colour race rather than an F1 hybrid between red and
The Australian Flora Foundation is a not-for-profit voluntary
organization with the sole objective of fostering scientific
research into Australia’s
Peter Goodwin (President) email@example.com
Ian Cox (Secretary) firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Flora Foundation Inc.
ABN 14 758 725 506
Box 41 Holme Building
University of Sydney NSW 2006