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- CPBR News 5-

News from the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research and
Australian National Herbarium (CANB)

For the information of CPBR and ANBG staff and volunteers

June, 1998

1. Herbarium and Services

1.1 New Loans Officer

Welcome to Roslyn Grace who commenced 10 June, as a half-time loans officer (to replace Ann Langston's 50% allocation in loans).

1.2 Public Plant Identifications


IDs received 49
IDs determined 36

Inquiries (eg botanical, horticultural questions):

Received 3
Answered 5


New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Comprehensive Regional Assessment work continues, with specimens received for confirmation as part of survey work in the South Coast and Southern Tablelands. 74 specimens received this month, will be identified in the next few weeks. This is part of the CPBR's ongoing commitment to our Memorandum of Understanding with NSW NP&WS, in return we receive payments and keep the specimens.

[Anthony Whalen]

1.3 Field Trip to the Kimberleys

Bob Makinson has spent three weeks leave on a busman's holiday in the Kimberley region of WA. In addition to fishing and viewing rock art, he collected about 90 specimens, with seven new taxa confirmed to date. Bob will give a lunchtime travelogue talk at a date to be fixed.

[Bob Makinson]

1.4 1998 Churchill Fellowship

Heino Lepp (Herbarium Scientific Associate in macrofungi) has been awarded a 1998 Churchill Fellowship for travel to study fungi in Europe. He plans to utilise the Fellowship from mid-August to early-December 1998. Judith Curnow from the cryptogam section of the Herbarium will be taking leave to accompany him.

They will be attending a number of meetings, forays, fieldwork and conferences with various European Mycological Societies and visiting a number of herbaria with mycological and bryophyte collections. Some highlights of the activities are: the British Mycological Society's (BMS) meeting on the Isle of Arran in Scotland; the combined meeting of British and Dutch mycological societies at Bergen with fieldwork on the island of Texel in Netherlands; fungal survey work on steep, muddy, prickly Gorse slope at Loch Lochy in Scotland; with of course visits to herbaria and gardens at Edinburgh, Kew, Leiden and others.

Heino will also discuss fungal conservation with the BMS and the approaches taken by the BMS to raise awareness of the essential roles fungi play ecologically.

[Judith Curnow & Heino Lepp]

1.5 CPBR Input to Orange Strategic Plan

Bob Makinson was an invited participant in a workshop held in Orange on 25-26 June to develop a Strategic Plan for the Agricultural Scientific Collections Unit (ASCU) of the Orange Agricultural Institute (NSW Dept of Ag.).

The ASCU, formerly housed at BCRI Rydalmere in Sydney, includes a large collection of insects and mites, plus a major fungal herbarium (DAR) and a reference herbarium of mainly weed plant species. The unit provides diagnostic and other advice to other sections of the Dept of Agriculture, and to AQIS and a wide range of other clients. They also conduct some research on fungi and invertebrate groups. There are strong similarities to us in relation to resources, public and departmental profile, and service delivery.

The Director of the ASCU, Dr Murray Fletcher, has also donated 29 boxes of his personal herbarium to us, conditional on tax-deductibility arrangements. This material is mixed, mostly from the Sydney Basin and south-west WA.

[Bob Makinson]

2. Research Groups

2.1 PhD Scholar

Welcome to Scot Kelchner and wife Cyndy who arrived 27 June. Scot's PhD project with Judy West will probably centre around the systematics of Portulaca.

2.2 Post Doctoral Fellowship in "Rarity"

Dr Brad Murray is the recent appointee to the PDF position in "Rarity". Brad will commence at the Centre in September but will visit 27-28 July to meet staff and discuss projects.

[Jeremy Burdon]

2.3 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology

Jeremy Burdon will visit Edinburgh, 9-14 August, to Chair one and speak at two other symposiums at the 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology.

[Jeremy Burdon]

2.4 Visit to Umea University

Jeremy Burdon will also visit the Umea University, Sweden, 14-23 August, for research collaboration on host-pathogen systems.

[Jeremy Burdon]

2.5 Flora Malesiana Symposium Kuala Lumpur July 20-24.

Three staff members, Lyn Craven, Rogier de Kok and Judy West, and one of our Visiting Scientists, Chris Puttock will be attending the FM symposium later this month. Lyn is presenting a paper on his Syzygium research and Rogier on his Labiate work from his doctorate research while at Oxford. Chris is coordinating the Rubiaceae workshop and presenting a Rutaceae paper in the Stone Symposium on behalf of Tom Hartley. Judy is taking a poster and will be demonstrating the soon to be released "Australian Tropical Rain Forest Trees and Shrubs" by Hyland et al.

As a member of the Flora Malesiana Board, Judy is presenting a position paper to the Board on electronic applications and ways of developing complementary products to Flora Malesiana.

[Judy West]

2.6 Australia's First Rainforest Canopy Crane

The CRC for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management (CRC-TREM) has been successful in gaining funds and support to develop the Australian Rainforest Canopy Crane Project. The official announcement was held on Tuesday, 30 June at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

The crane will be located in an area of lowland tropical forest adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Queensland near Cape Tribulation. It is expected that researchers from around Australia and throughout the world will use this facility from which a very broad range of studies can be undertaken including projects on biodiversity (fauna and flora), microclimatology, forest processes, epiphytes, plant physiology, vertebrates, and invertebrates.

Site work on the project will begin mid July 1998 with the official opening of the canopy crane scheduled for November 1998.

3. Information Technology and Data Management

The URL for the Centre can be found at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr. Please check regularly for new items of interest re Centre staff and activities.

4. General Centre Matters

4.1 Diary of Events

Following a suggestion from Heino Lepp, the Executive Committee has decided to include a Diary of Events in each month's CPBR News. All staff are requested to supply Suzie Dietrich with diary events/activities which may be of interest to Centre Staff. Please relate this news to your project areas. This month's Diary will be found at the end of the newsletter.

4.2 Centre Review

Plans seem to be in hand for the Centre Review due to take place later this week - July 9 & 10. The documentation as supplied to the Review Team is available for anybody to peruse in the Herbarium Seminar/tea Room (Building 502A). The program for the Review and participants involved in various sessions was emailed out to all Centre staff and is also on the noticeboard in the Seminar/tea room.

[Judy West]

4.3 Advisory Committee Member

This month's Centre Advisory Committee Member is a new member who has not yet met with the whole Committee: Dr Patricia Selkirk.

Patricia Selkirk is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University in the School of Biological Sciences. Patricia graduated from the University of Sydney with Honours in Botany and a PhD on the physiology of Riccia fluitans, an aquatic liverwort. Patricia has carried out extensive research in the subantarctic, particularly on Macquarie Island. A significant publication milestone is the "Subantarctic Macquarie Island: environment and biology", in the Studies in Polar Research Series. She is currently serving on several Committees including the Scientific Committee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee. Pat brings a sound biological and botanical background to the Committee together with a specialised expertise in Bryology.

4.4 Centre Library News

New Items in the Library

IPBGR is now known as IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute). Their mandate is to "advance the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations". They undertake research and training and provide scientific and technical advice as well as information. They also have a strong link to FAO.

We have a number of their publications under the general title "Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops". The following have particular relevance to the Australian region but there are many more and they all cover botanical and genetic resource information:

¸ Black nightshades: Solanum nigrum L. and related species

¸ Sago palm: Metroxylon sagu Rottb.

¸ Breadfruit Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg

¸ Pili nut: Canarium ovatum Engl.

[Kirsten Cowley]

5. Other News

5.1 ABRS: Flora of Australia

Flora of Australia Volume 48, Ferns, Gymnosperms and Allied Genera.

Volume 48 of the Flora of Australia is expected to be published in late August/early September of this year.

The ferns and their allies, the cycads and the gymnosperms make up this volume. An introduction includes information on structural variation, phylogeny, higher level classification, the fossil record and keys to 43 families. This is followed by keys and richly illustrated descriptions of more than 450 species and infra-specific taxa in upwards of 110 genera.

The volume describes a total of six divisions, 42 families,134 genera and 582 species, and represents contributions from 20 authors, 17 illustrators and 7 photographers. The fern allies are represented by 44 native species of psilophytes and lycophytes.

True ferns are found almost throughout the country, but are most numerous in wetter, tropical and subtropical areas. Australia has a native flora of 30 families, 103 genera and 390 species of ferns, with another 10 species being naturalised. Only about 40% of the Australian species are endemic.

Native pines are distributed through 3 families, 14 genera and 43 species, of which 39 species are endemic. Most are species of wetter mountainous areas, with the exception of Callitris (17 endemic species), found mainly in drier open woodlands.

Australian cycads number 69 species, all endemic, in 4 genera and 3 families. They are confined mainly to the forests of eastern and northern Australia, with a few in south-western Western Australia and central Australia.

The prices are: $94.95 RRP for hard cover and $59.95 RRP for soft cover.

The book can be ordered through CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Vic. 3066.

Email: sales@publish.csiro.au
Fax: (03) 9662 7555.

The book has xxii preliminary pages, 771 main text pages, with 93 colour illustrations and 121 pages of line drawings.

Hardcover: ISBN 0 643 05971 7. Softcover: ISBN 0 643 05972 5

[Helen Thompson]

5.2 News from the ANBG Library

Nature in Eurobodalla

This is an annual publication produced by the Eurobodalla Natural History Society. It includes articles on the fauna and fauna of the South Coast as well as species lists. Articles from recent issues include:

¸ "Trees in the coastal rainforest of the Eurobodalla" by Kevin Mills and Jacqueline Jakeman.

¸ "The plants of the Burrewarra Point Reserve" by George Chippendale.

¸ "A survey of sea spurge occurrences in southern New South Wales" by Petrus C. Heyligers.

¸ "Some ferns of the Eurobodalla district" by Jennifer Liney.

The ANBG Library has recently subscribed to this journal. Issues from 1989 to 1996 are currently on display in the ANBG Library.

Binding Machine

We have an "Ibico" thermal binding machine in the library which is available for staff use. Pages are held in place with glue and the finished product has a clear front cover and cardboard back cover. Very useful for creating neat presentation copies of documents. A small quantity of covers ranging from 1.5mm to 20mm widths are available, and, for bulk quantities, covers may be purchased from most stationery suppliers.

Contact Catherine or Linda in the ANBG Library if you have any enquiries.

Phone 6250 9480 or email: ANBG.library@deh.gov.au

[Catherine Jordan]

5.3 Additions to Index Herbariorum (Herbaria), Edition 8 - Seventh Series

Fifteen additional herbaria have been called to our attention since the last instalment of this series was published in August 1997. Information on these herbaria is presented below in alphabetical order by country. This brings the total number of herbaria added since the publication of Edition 8 to 251.

Updated information for herbaria in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores (Portugal), Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunie Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Mexico and USA is now being made available for WAIS searching by country, institution, city, state, acronym, staff member, correspondent, and research speciality at http://www.nybg.org/bsci/ih.html.

Telephone and fax numbers as well as email addresses are included. (Taxon 47 - May 1998, p. 503)

[Kirsten Cowley]

5.4 A New Pedestrian Promenade at the ANBG

The final stage of the Main Path project is the construction of a pedestrian promenade linking the Visitor Centre and the main body of the Gardens. A major aim of the works is to encourage visitors to the Visitor Centre and bookshop. The project will also improve access from the carpark to the Gardens entrance bridge. The promenade was designed by local landscape architects, Malcolm Munro and Cathy Barrow.

The concourse will feature a small waterfall associated with the Rainforest Gully plantings and ample seating for weary visitors. The works will allow improvements to the garden beds along the promenade, which are being re-developed to feature plants suitable for home gardens. The popular memorial to Joseph Banks will also be re-landscaped.

Construction work will commence in early July and, weather permitting, will be completed in time for Floriade visitors in spring. Some disruption to pedestrian and wheelchair access will be inevitable during the course of construction, we apologise for any inconvenience.

[Rod Harvey]

5.5 Weedy Concerns

Mikania micrantha (Mile-a-minute) is considered to be one of the world's most serious tropical weeds. A perennial vine in the weedy Tribe Eupatorieae (Asteraceae) it is closely related to Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed), Ageratina adenophora (Crofton weed), Ageratina riparia (mistflower), Ageratum conyzoides (Bluetop) and Praxelis clematidea. Originating from Central and South America it has become a serious weed from West Africa, through India and south-east Asia to the Pacific Islands including Fiji. Overseas, Mikania micrantha is a major pest of plantation crops, forestry and pastures and a serious environmental weed. Its climbing habit enables it to reach and smother the canopy of small trees. Although intolerant of heavy shade it readily colonises gaps. Never previously recorded on mainland Australia (it has been collected from Christmas Island, Indian Ocean), Mikania micrantha is one of the primary "target" weeds of the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) and is a prohibited weed on Commonwealth and State (e.g. Queensland & WA) lists. Until recently, its nearest known occurrence to the mainland was Merauke (south-east coast of Irian Jaya) and Papua New Guinea.

Several weeks ago a small, flowering fragment was sent to the Mareeba QDPI laboratory for identification. NAQS botanist Barbara Waterhouse recognised it and immediately raised the alarm. Herbarium specimens were obtained and have been confirmed at Perth, Kew and Queensland Herbaria. The original fragment had been sent in by a resident of the Mission Beach area (far northern Queensland) who was growing it in a pot for use as a herbal remedy for skin ailments. Observation of its rapid growth rate, propensity to grow from the smallest of cuttings, and production of copious quantities of wind-borne seed had led the resident to become concerned about its weed potential. She had been using Mikania for this purpose for at least 6 years, having been given a cutting from a "wild" population growing near Mission Beach. She had been told that the plant was native to the area, but became suspicious of its origin when her repeated searches failed to locate any plants.

Queensland authorities (DNR, QDPI, DoE) and AQIS were notified of the detection and have been working together to establish the number and extent of infestations and to determine whether plants have been despatched more widely for use as a herbal remedy. To date, two small (up to 100 square metres) wild populations have been located at Mission Beach and Bingil Bay. A third "population" ( c. 6 large plants in a garden at Forrest Beach east of Ingham) appears to be on the verge of "going wild". The fate of individual plants (some in pots) known to have been distributed from Cardwell to Tully and Mission Beach, as been traced. Some had "died of natural causes", the rest have been destroyed. The search for further plants continues and has been greatly assisted by co-operation of the woman who sent in the original fragment.

The Queensland plants are currently in flower, producing large numbers of small, creamy-white, mildly-scented, tubular florets. Flowering is heaviest in well-lit situations or where the vine has reached the canopy. The flowers are visited by a wide range of bees, wasps, flies and butterflies; collecting nectar and pollen.

Eradication of the larger populations will commence soon. Sensitivity about the use of herbicides in the region (e.g. one infestation occurs along the boundary of an 'organic' banana farm), dictates a need for great diplomacy and investigation of non-chemical control measures. The tendency for Mikania micrantha to root at just about any node that touches the ground poses a problem for mechanical destruction. While some residents have been wonderfully co-operative in providing information, others have been less helpful. In recent years the region has seen eradication programs for Siam weed and Papaya fruit fly; and government officers are not always welcome visitors. The duration that Mikania micrantha has been in northern Queensland is not yet known, but is currently thought to be approximately 8-10 years. A "Fijian" link with the two wild populations is under investigation. After a few more "leads" are followed up a low key publicity campaign will be commenced. If Mikania micrantha is being used more widely by local herbalists than is currently thought to be the case, there are fears that intensive publicity could drive the owners and their plants "underground". It is of concern that cuttings may have been taken elsewhere in Queensland or interstate.

Contact has been initiated with the National Herbalist Association of Australia which publishes the Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, quarterly. We have been reassured that Mikania micrantha and any other species of Mikania reputed to have medicinal properties are NOT in use or under investigation for use by the National Herbalist Association. An article on the weed potential of Mikania species will be included in the next issue of the journal. The Australian Traditional Medicine Society will also be contacted about Mikania.

The wet tropical coast of north Queensland is ideal for the establishment of Mikania micrantha. However, its potential Australian distribution covers a much broader area. Rod Randall of Agriculture Western Australia has produced some climatic predictions for Mikania micrantha in Australia. These and some photographs of the north Queensland plants have been posted at: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/progserv/plants/weeds/climate/mikania.htm

Please contact me if you think you have seen Mikania micrantha (wild or in use as a medicinal herb) anywhere else in Australia; or if you have experience with its control overseas.

Barbara Waterhouse
Botanist - Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy
PO Box 1054

Tel. 07 40 928546
Fax 07 40 923593

E-mail barbara.waterhouse@dpie.gov.au

[Bob Makinson]

6. Diary of Events/Activities

Date - Event/Activity - Who - Details (relate to projects)

19 June Board Meeting Centre Board Board to discuss Centre Review and Staff Survey

7-9 July Biological Informatics Conference, Australian Academy of Science Jim Croft Presenting Paper on "Inventory of Life on Earth"

9-10 July Centre Review Centre Staff & External Review Team Staff presentations, review of Centre, etc

10-17 July & 17-31 August Overseas Visitor Dr Brent Mishler, University of California Collecting trip to Australia to study mosses with Heinar Streimman.

Week commencing 27 July Microscope servicing Robin Parkes (Eyepoint Instruments) Compound mics: Lab 3 (CSIRO site); preparation room (ANBG site). Stereo mics: around Herbarium collection, A.Whalen and Tony Willis (CSIRO site); Lichen area and Judith Curnow (ANBG site) [coordinated by Kirsten Cowley and Judith Curnow]

19-27 July Flora Malesiana symposium & FM Board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Judy West, Lyn Craven, Rogier de Kok, Chris Puttock Papers being presented

27-28 July New PDF in "Rarity" Dr Brad Murray Brad will be taking up his position in September but is visiting before that to meet people and discuss projects.

28 & 29 July CSIRO Entomology - Conservation Biology Symposium Judy West, Andrew Young, Richard Groves Presenting Papers.

29-31 July Atherton Visit Judy West and Jeremy Burdon To review progress of Atherton team and future planning.

9-14 August 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology - Edinburgh Jeremy Burdon Chairing one symposium; speaking at two.

14-23 August Visit to Ume… University, Sweden Jeremy Burdon Research collaboration on host-pathogen systems.

20 August - mid December 1998 Churchill Fellowship Award - Travel to Europe. Heino Lepp & Judith Curnow To study fungi in Europe and attend various Mycological Meetings/Conferences/Forays and visit various Herbaria.(Details in June 1998 Newsletter)

26 & 27 August ABRS Advisory Committee Judy West Grant allocations

7-9 Sept Biological Diversity Advisory Committee Melbourne Judy West

Sept. 20-30: Review of Natural History Museum, London Research Judy West Review of NHM research programs

CPBR News is compiled by Suzie Dietrich (suzie.dietrich@pi.csiro.au),
Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research

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Placed here 15 November, 1999 by Andrew Lyne
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