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Issue 56- October 2003

News from the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian National Herbarium (CANB), for the information of CPBR and ANBG staff and volunteers.

CPBR News is produced monthly. If you wish to contribute, please email your suggestions to Val Oliver, the coordinator.

Val Oliver: ph (02) 6246 5533; fax (02) 6246 5249; email:

1. Staffing News

Dr Jeremy Burdon - new Chief of Plant Industry

The Centre congratulates Jeremy on his appointment as the new Chief of the Division of Plant Industry. Below is an email distributed by Geoff Garrett, Chief Executive, CSIRO, on 4 November 2003:


Dear All

As you will be aware we have been actively searching for a new Chief of Plant Industry over the last few months, a process which has taken longer than we had at first hoped, but one that has been comprehensive and rewarding. First off I would like to thank all those involved in the process for their help and advice, particularly the PI staff involved in the panel interviews.

I am delighted to announce that Dr Jeremy Burdon has been offered and has accepted the position of Chief, following an extensive international search.

Jeremy has an outstanding track record in research. His contributions to science have been recognised by several prestigious awards and appointments, including election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1996. Jeremy has worked in CSIRO for most of his career, commencing with a postdoctoral fellowship in the 1970s, and has addressed problems at all points along the strategic – applied research continuum.

Jeremy has also made important contributions to research management in CSIRO, most recently as a Program Leader and Assistant Chief in the Division of Plant Industry. He has led some major changes in the Australian Flora Resources and Management Program and a variety of Divisional initiatives.

I am sure you will join me in congratulating Jeremy on his appointment which will take effect from 15 December.

Jeremy will take over from Dr Jim Peacock, who is standing down next month after providing 25 years of outstanding leadership as Chief of the Division. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim for his wonderful contribution not only to the Division, but to CSIRO as a whole and I'm sure he will continue to make significant contributions to Australian science in his 'retirement'. We are all looking forward to the upcoming series of farewell events, which I trust you will enjoy participating in.




Jim Grace retires

10th April 1967 till 29th October 2003.

When I first came to the Division my intention was to be here for a few years while my younger sisters and brothers were educated. I would then return to the family property and help my father. I found however, that I could do both by using my weekends and through such bonuses as recreation leave (which I did not know about in the bush)!

In 1967 a very close friend brought me over to Plant Industry for an "on the spot" interview with Paul Brown and I started a few days later in the Potting Shed with Bon Minius where I stayed for about three years. While in the Potting Shed I was fortunate enough to have some field trips with other sections requiring assistance, eg. helping Jack Peak with Phalaris work, Cedric Neal-Smith’s group with field trials at Krawarree and Berry and Frank Hely with his work on Caucasian Clover.

Early 1971 I was lucky enough to be placed in the Plant Introduction Group where I worked with the late Paul Broué and then Don Marshall. Finally in the early 1980’s I began work with Tony Brown who is still my supervisor today. In 1975 we began collecting Glycine with the view of assembling a collection to hopefully give us some useful traits to breed into Soybeans to improve the crop. While our research has lessened Tony still has collaborative work with researchers in the USA. The large collection of seed and specimens which the Division now holds, has taken collectors to many parts of Australia. However, there is still more species out there to be found.

Our attention was changed from Glycines to Gossypium, another crop genus with endemic wild species, and this lead to the arrival in the group of Curt Brubaker. This meant some different places to collect and we could put the experience gained in collecting Glycines into practice to assemble a diverse collection of wild cottons while collecting some more Glycines.

I have been very lucky to have worked with the above mentioned people as well as Jack Munday, Lyn Craven, Roy Pullen and Bob Heriot [deceased]. I have also been fortunate to have formed firm friendships with a large number of past and present staff who have worked in other areas of the Division and CSIRO.

I have enjoyed my work and have taken a keen interest in those aspects which could improve the agricultural industry. The opportunity to see many parts of Australia while collecting native species was very enjoyable and rewarding.

I wish the Centre and the Division of Plant Industry all the best for the future.

[Jim Grace]


Vale Ted Moore

Many in Plant Industry and the Herbarium as well as the wider Canberra botanical community were saddened to learn recently of Ted Moore’s death at the age of 95. In his latter, post-retirement years Ted was a familiar figure in the Herbarium as he worked on his collections made over a period of almost 60 years. We remember his many contributions with admiration as we esteem the person that many of us got to know.

Some biographical details

Ted Moore was born at Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand and attended Lincoln College, near Christchurch, from which he gained a B.Agr.Sc. in 1933. He moved to Canberra in 1935 and joined CSIR Division of Plant Industry in the early 40s. During the war years Ted worked as a Technical Officer on Taraxacum kok-saghyz from Russia, as a potential source of latex for rubber. Subsequently, in the mid 40s he began to work on the wallaby grasses (Danthonia spp. in the Agrostology Section of PI. This group included many ecologists who became notable subsequently for their surveys of Australian vegetation and the floristic changes to those vegetation types incurred by continuous grazing. Following that tradition, Ted made his mark early by surveying the vegetation of the southeastern Riverina (see Moore 1953a, 1953b). This project earned him a M.Agr.Sc. degree and promotion to Research Officer status. During the Riverina survey Ted collected many plants for the developing Plant Industry herbarium, then curated by Nancy Burbidge. The quality of those early descriptive papers and the collections he made in the Riverina testify to Ted’s consummate botanical skills and insights into a vegetation that initially must have seemed very strange to a South Island New Zealander!

Ted’s geographical area of interest then moved further north from the Riverina to the Western Division of New South Wales, the area that Noel Beadle had surveyed and mapped some years earlier. This shift northwards was after the time when the former Agrostology Section had changed to become the Ecology Section, with Ted as its Chairman. Ted Moore’s interest in the vegetation of the western region around Cobar developed, especially in relation to the "woody weed" problem that was worsening as a result of the high rainfall levels in the mid 50s. The increasing dominance of shrubs over herbs led to reduced stocking levels and thereby lower income for the region’s graziers. Thus began Ted’s contact with that region and some of its graziers – especially the owners of "Tundulya" at Louth – that was to continue well into his retirement years.

By this time Ted as Chairman of the Ecology Section was as meticulous in his Divisional administrative role as he was in collecting plants. Just as Ted’s botanical interests had widened to include the Western Division of New South Wales so too were the research interests of the Ecology Section changing and widening. The earlier concentration on vegetation surveys was replaced by increasing interest in weedy species and their control, such as bracken (John Carnahan), oxalis, thistles and barnyard grass (Peter Michael) and skeleton weed (Donald McVean and Richard Groves), as well as an interest in water stress in eucalyptus forests (Eddie Pook) and, increasingly, aspects of land use in the upper Shoalhaven catchment as they related to water yield. The latter project was led by Alec Costin who was by then (in the early 70s) an Assistant Chief in PI.

The position of Officer-in-Charge at the CSIRO Pastoral Laboratory (then part of Plant Industry) at Deniliquin became vacant when John Leigh moved to the Ecology Section at Canberra and Ted enthusiastically took up the position at Deniliquin for a period. At that time too, Richard Groves replaced Ted as Chairman of the Ecology Section. The job at Deniliquin took Ted back to the Riverina region that he had surveyed over 20 years before and, although the roads north from "Dennie" were in a worse state (especially when it rained) than those from Canberra, it was geographically closer to the Cobar-Bourke area where he was then working. Ted’s involvement with that region and its major land-use problem attracted several of the Deniliquin staff, such as Ken Hodgkinson and Jim Noble, to investigate other aspects of the overall problem, a research interest that continued for many years after Ted left Deniliquin and returned to Canberra in 1973 to live in retirement.

Ted had come to Australia in the 30s as a single man but in his early years in Canberra he married Dorothy and they had two children Michael and Robin, who grew up in the house at 80 David Street, Turner, where Ted continued to live in retirement. That house always had dogs as much loved members of the household. One such dog (a boxer) even used to come to work with Ted and snore and snuffle loudly under Ted’s desk, which made even the simple request to sign a leave form a somewhat daunting experience. It was sad that Dorothy died early in Ted’s long period of retirement, although soon thereafter Robin moved into the family house to live with her father and, increasingly, to look after him in a most selfless way.

Plant collections in the Canberra herbarium

Ted’s prolific plant collecting started with herbarium specimens lodged in the Australian National Herbarium dating back to August 1945. During his long career in CSIRO and after he retired in 1973, he collected systematically and extensively throughout western New South Wales and to a lesser degree in and around the ACT. He even made collections on his several holidays to New Zealand and around Mackay, Queensland. Ted collected close to 9,500 specimens with the last specimen being collected from his garden in Turner in March 1998. That’s close to 53 years of collecting which is rather impressive!

A summary of his main collecting activities is provided below.


C.W.E. Moore collecting numbers

Main collecting areas


Aug. 1945 – Sept. 1951


NSW: CWS-NWS north to Coonabarabran and Gunnedah; CT around Bathurst; SWS-SWP west to Deniliquin, Riverina area

Nov. 1951 – Dec. 1962


NSW: throughout the Southern Tablelands including the ACT

Oct. 1964 –March 1972


NSW: SWP-NWP-NFWP from Deniliquin in the south to Cunamulla, Qld in the north, including the properties of Tundulya and Mt Mulyah near Cobar, along the Darling River to Tilpa and around Wanaaring to the west.

April-Sept. 1972


NSW: CC, around Gosford; QLD: around Charleville; VIC.: around Heathcote and Rochester

March 1973 – Oct. 1982


NSW: NWP-NFWP between Bourke, Wanaaring, Tilpa along the Darling River and Nyngan including the properties of Tundulya, Mt. Mulyah, Winbar, Westmere, Pelora and others.

Jan. 1983


New Zealand: around Lake Lyndon and Arthur’s Pass

Oct. 1983 - May 1988


NSW: NWP-FNWP between Bourke and Wanaaring, and Louth along the Darling River including the properties of Tundulya, Mt. Mulyah, Winbar, also around Broken Hill and Silverton to the west.

Sept. 1988 – Oct. 1992


NSW: NWP around Warialda, North Star and Yetman including the properties of Lisgar, Tullinga Downs, Mungle and Warivan; NWP around Cobar including the properties of Tundulya, Winbar and Mt Mulyah.

Aug. 1994


QLD: Mackay and surrounds

Nov. 1994


New Zealand: Christchurch

Mar., Sept. 1996


QLD: Mackay and surrounds

Ted also had a way of finding many interesting plants and six new species were named in honour of him, namely:

Calotis moorei P. S. Short

Heliotropium moorei Craven

Tetragonia moorei M. Gray

Chamaecrista moorei Pedley

Convolvulus tedmoorei R. W. Johnson

Spergularia moorei L. G. Adams ms

Ted always made excellent collections and they have provided valuable information for ecologists and botanists, especially those interested in the flora of western New South Wales (see Moore 1984). He was also very happy to share his detailed knowledge of the flora and the areas collected with all those who might request it. During his retirement when Ted wasn’t off collecting he would come into the Herbarium everyday and spend much of his time updating his older collections and processing the newer ones. By then in his 70s, he was keen to have an electronic record of all his collections, and he became adept at entering his collection data into the herbarium specimen database. Ted also added latitude and longitude coordinates to most of his earlier collections, because as he quite rightly put it ‘he knew where he was at the time of the collection’ and herbarium technical staff have been grateful for this ever since.

Looking for a challenge once he had his collections in order, Ted took up the curation of the family Caesalpiniaceae. Due to his earlier experiences with the arid shrublands he became very interested in the taxonomy of the native genus Senna (originally segregated from Cassia by Miller). Regrettably, although he appears to have had strong ideas on the subject, he never managed to publish any solutions to the ongoing taxonomic problems plaguing this complex group.

Ted has been an inspiration to herbarium staff over the years with his determination to continue on with his botanical interests.

Cited publications

Moore, C.W.E. (1953a). The vegetation of the south-eastern Riverina, New South

Wales. I. The climax communities. Aust. J. Botany 1: 485-547.

Moore, C.W.E. (1953b). The vegetation of the south-eastern Riverina, New South

Wales. II. The disclimax communities. Aust. J. Botany 1: 548-567.

Moore, C.W.E. (1984). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants in part of northwestern

New South Wales. CSIRO Div. Water & Land Resources Tech. Memorandum 84/30.

[Richard Groves & Jo Palmer]


2. Herbarium

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium Update

The AVH Project continues to hum along with considerable progress in the grasses and the wattles. We now have Laurie Adams and Anna Monro working part-time on checking through all our specimens of selected genera in the Proteaceae and Myrtaceae to prepare these groups for data entry. Terena continues to wade through the grasses and is now on the home stretch with the Fabaceae to look forward to next. She seems quite happy about that!

Some of the data entry team have changed work sites. Joining Carolyn, Di and Ian on the CSIRO site are Catherine Gilbert and Peter Martensz in the mornings and James Hill and Kathy Tsang in the afternoons. Joining Karen and Carmen on the ANBG site are Theresa Orchard and Robyn Prince in the mornings and Brent Simpson and Jess Newton in the afternoons. Theresa will still be around on the CSIRO site in the afternoons. Shaun Cunningham has recently moved on to greener pastures and we wish him all the best for the future.

Progress to date on groups being databased and validated has included:

· 89% (53,611 specimens) of Poaceae processed

· 94% (20,861 specimens) of Acacia processed

· Complete databasing of the lichen family Cladoniaceae (6,989 specimens)

· 46% (183 specimens) of Fungimap taxa processed

A celebration is definitely in order when those grasses are completed, not long now! Thanks everyone for a great effort.

To complete the AVH process for each group Lee has been checking the databased records for distribution and any other discrepancies that may be present. All the groups databased so far, Cladoniaceae, Gymnosperms, Sphagnaceae, Hakea, Chenopodiaceae, Casuarinaceae and four out of the six subfamilies of Poaceae have been checked and are squeaky clean. Well done Lee! Next up will be Acacia, the remainder of the grasses and the Fungimap taxa when they are completely databased.

[Jo Palmer].


3. Research Groups

WA field trip

Dr Mark Clements and I travelled to Western Australia from the 3-16 September 2003 to collect Pterostylidinae orchids for the "Orchid MYCORRHIZAE co-evolution project". The main objective of this project is to estimate a phylogeny of mycorrhizal fungi from the 16 recently recognized genera of Pterostylidinae. We drove over 3,100 Km in the south west region of WA. It was a great trip because this year it had rained over most of the south-west including the desert areas and there were lots of plants in flower including many orchids. We collected 91 specimens of Pterostylidinae orchid in 30 morph-species.

To date (October 15th, 2003) I have isolated 60 fungi of representative specimens, bringing my collection of mycorrhizal fungal isolates to over 200, with samples from 15 of the 16 genera of Pterostylidinae.

[Tupac Otero]


EUCLID trip to The Kimberley

The trip to the Kimberley for Andrew and Judy to chase materials for EUCLID finally took place in September/October. It was rescheduled three times for several reasons, including the impact of the January fires on Andrew’s life and Judy being pre-occupied with mapping of a different sort in her secondment to the Department of Education, Science and Training. Due to her commitments in that position Judy accompanied Andrew for the first part of the trip from Darwin to Broome, and Teguh ‘volunteered’ to take over for the second part of the trip. As you will see below, that turned out to be very productive for his Sapotaceae work as well as providing him with some insight into the northern flora.

In the Kimberley itself the landscape was amazingly parched to the point that leaves would crumble in your hands on shrubby species, but the local landholders mostly indicated this is normal for this time of year prior to the onset of the wet. Despite this we managed to locate and collect material of almost all the eucs we were hoping to find, and some were even flowering.

Broome to Darwin ….

Sunday 5th of October, after a slightly rough aircraft landing I arrived at Broome and met Andrew and Judy briefly before she left for Canberra via Melbourne in the same aircraft I used. At Broome I made my first collection of Pouteria sericea at sand dunes area of Gantheaume Point late in the afternoon.

Andrew and I left Broome early on Monday morning and drove towards Fitzroy Crossing. In an extremely hot day (even for Indonesians) we successfully collected many Eucalyptus and Corymbia specimens including fruit and seed. The peak of the hot temperature was happening when we climbed up Ngumban Cliff east of Fitzroy Crossing. I found a "glycine-like" plant and collected specimen and seed for Tony. Unfortunately the glycine turned out to be Rhyncosia rhomboidea. Raining and thunder storm were welcoming us when we stayed at Halls Creek. From Halls Creek we went north to Purnululu National Park.

We spent a night at Kurrajong campsite at Purnululu National Park. Started with a small number of cars in the camp, we ended up with approximately 30 cars in the morning. Despite the number of flies, I felt in love with the extraordinary scenery of Bungle-Bungle Range and the stunning Cathedral Gorge. Andrew managed to find a species of Eucalyptus that he really wanted to collect near a rocky hill about 9 kilometers from Walardi Camp towards Piccaninny Creek.

Although I would have liked to stay longer in Purnululu, we had to leave and proceed to the "green and wet" Kununurra. We spent a day visiting Wyndham (a town with many cemeteries) during our stay in Kununurra and our main target was the Sapotaceae growing in the forest along Wyndham estuarine area. Here I spotted dark green shrubby plant (Pouteria sericea) growing on scree slopes on rocky hill. We left Wyndham and Kununurra for Katherine.

Starting from Katherine, we drove north and then north east to Nitmiluk (formerly named Katherine Gorge) National Park border looking for Pouteria arnhemica. I was in the middle of collecting leaf samples when Andrew met a soldier suddenly appearing from the bush. This soldier was from air force base in Darwin and he said there will be more of them moving past the site where we were collecting plants. Rather then participating in a combat and survival exercise, we retreated and continued our journey to Adelaide River.

We spent two hours in Adelaide River searching for Pouteria richardii as it was collected from the site in 1977. However, we couldn’t find the tree probably it has been cut down during the development of Adelaide – Darwin railway line. From Adelaide River, we continued north to Darwin and stayed for four days.

First day in Darwin, we drove South to Litchfield National Park towards Wangi Falls to collect Pouteria richardii at Bamboo Creek (near a historical old tin mine). Andrew found the plant among dense forest in Bamboo Creek under the beauty of a Nankeen Night Heron’s call. Thanks to Andrew. We collected more leaf samples of Pouteria richardii at Wangi Falls. In Litchfield National Park Andrew also collected Eucalyptus miniata seed.

Second day in Darwin, we visited a site at Howard Springs south of Darwin to collect Citrus gracilis for Randy’s citrus project. Accompanied by Dale Dixon from Darwin herbarium (DNA), we collected specimen, cuttings, and leaf samples of "a big thorny with minute leaf" protected Australian native and endangered plant species. We spent the rest of the afternoon working at DNA as well as packing our specimens and our field gear.

These activities continued during our third day in Darwin. DNA has a very good collection of Pouteria arnhemica and P. richardii specimens covering the whole morphological variation of the species. I also examined the whole Sapotaceae collection at DNA and put new determination slips on some of them. Our work closed by sending all specimens and gear to Canberra. Amazingly it proved cheaper (and easier) to air freight the boxes than to send them by road freight. Near the motel where we were staying I collected Chrysophyllum caimito another species of Sapotaceae.

Last day in Darwin we visited the Botanic Garden which has a stunning collection of palms and other tropical plants, enhanced by the presence of jungle-fowl scratching around. Our amazing journey to Broome (Kimberley) and Darwin was finished by a cloudy, windy, and stormy flight to Canberra via Brisbane. I wish I could see these places again in the future.

[Teguh Triono, Andrew Slee, & Judy West]

A couple of general comments to add to Teguh’s account above…..

The business part of the trip started and finished in Darwin, and although we shipped a fair bit of gear to Darwin, we also borrowed a considerable amount of essential items from the Darwin herbarium (DNA). Andrew and Teguh also based themselves at DNA to organize and package specimens and material to return to Canberra. These cooperative arrangements that we enjoy between our herbaria in Australia are really valuable and of course are part of the reason we have been able to develop collaborative projects such as the AVH. Many thanks to Greg Leach and particularly to Dale Dixon and Ian Cowie for their hospitality.

This period of time in the field with Andrew concentrating on EUCLID specimens, photos and general coverage was especially useful to me as the person with overall management responsibility for the project. It always helps to experience first hand the quality of the work going into such a project and the information that we are gathering to develop the underpinning database to the interactive identification system. Andrew’s knowledge of the group is impressive and it was instructive and enjoyable trying to apply the recent taxonomies to some of the northern ghost gums and bloodwoods, and working out how we should deal with them in EUCLID itself.

I have done field work in the Kimberley twice before – the first time in 1982. The change in the region even in the past 10 years, particularly the greater accessibility for the general public to such a fantastic part of Australia is encouraging and also of some concern. There seemed to be umpteen tour operators active in the area, including on the Mitchell and Kalumburu Plateaus, and the impact on the natural resources and landscape are starting to be noticed. In addition, the random burning that is taking place all over the countryside is totally out of control and is very likely to be impacting on the vegetation. WA CALM has initiated some monitoring studies to assist in management for long term sustainability of the region.

[Judy West]


4. General Centre Matters

Next Program U/Centre meeting

The next Program U/Centre formal meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 12 November in the ANH Tearoom at 10.15 am.

The next CPBR Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday 13 November 2003.

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for 10 December 2003.


[Val Oliver]


Updated 15 January, 2004 by webmaster