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About The Pea Key

THE PEA KEY: An interactive key for Australian Pea-flowered Legumes
Version 1.0

The pea-flowered legumes, the family Fabaceae (with more than 1500 species) form an important part of the flora of Australia. The family is currently being treated for the Flora of Australia by a number of researchers, postdoctoral fellows and students from around Australia. Capitalising on that collaborative effort, the legume researchers at the Australian National Herbarium and the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research initiated and have coordinated this project to build an interactive key to all the pea-flowered legumes of Australia - The Pea Key. A character list developed as the result of a workshop held at the Centre in late 1999, was used by the participants to code species; this included a coordinator engaged with Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) support in 2000-01.

Every effort has been made to include the most up-to-date taxonomic information, all treatments up to November 2007 (1500 taxa) have been included. As the many active projects of the Australian Pea-flowered Legume Research Group come to fruition, the results will be incorporated into The Pea Key.

The Pea Key, which was originally conceived as a research tool to cover the taxa in the tribes Mirbelieae, Bossiaeeae and Brongniartieae, has evolved into a more extended identification tool to all the pea-flowered legumes of Australia. It is now an identification system, developed using Lucid software, for all Australian native (presumed to be present in Australia prior to 1788) and naturalised (introduced species with self-maintaining 'wild' populations) species and sub-specific taxa.

A fact sheet exists for all species included in the Pea Key. However, at this time, only 4 species are presented with images as a well developed species profile ie. Chorizema retrorsum, Daviesia ulicifolia, Hovea longipes, Pultenaea spinosa. These examples have been prepared in a format similar to the Flora of Australia (FOA) so that once treatments are prepared for the pea-flowered legumes the structure will be compatible and appropriate for Australian Flora Online. For all species the most current information from the Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) has been incorporated.

The Australian Pea-flowered Legume Research Group


Rogier de Kok (Coordinator)
Ed Biffin (Coordinator)
Ryonen Butcher
Greg Chandler
Jenny Chappill (dec.)
Ian Cowie

Mike Crisp
Peter Jobson
Terena Lally
Anna Monro
Bernard Pfeil

Jim Ross
Ian Thompson
Judy West
Peter Weston
Peter Wilson

History of the project

The idea for this project came about as the result of two car drives. The first one was a day trip to the Deua National Park on the south coast of New South Wales. Along the side of the road in the park, we observed a group of plants. They were yellow flowering peas, but not one of the occupants in the car could recognize the species or even the genus, although half of all current Australian legume specialists were present. The need for an easy way of identifying Peas was keenly felt. The second car drive, Rogier de Kok took with Judy West from Canberra to Sydney in order to study the Pultenaea herbarium collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Talking about my recent experience in the Deua National Park and about the number of people working on the family on temporary contracts (students and postdoctoral positions), it became obvious to us that this would be the ideal time to start a cooperative joint project for an interactive key.

After consultation with the key workers involved, funding was obtained from the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) to appoint a student (Greg Chandler) on a three-month contract to develop a character list. The character list was further developed and negotiated during a workshop in September 2001 in Canberra by all the participants of the project. Additional funding was obtained from ABRS so that we could code those taxa which would not be covered by the participating specialists and to have a dedicated assistant to handle the incoming data and to incorporate it into the Lucid program (Ed Biffin). ABRS also provided the support for the character illustrations to be drawn (Sharyn Wragg). Support from the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research was provided in the form of technical assistance (John Connors, Siobhan Duffy and Greg Whitbread) and secretarial liaison support particularly with the images (Kirsten Cowley). Many people and institutions kindly allowed us to include their photographs and illustrations for many of the species in the key. Siobhan Duffy developed the tutorial and web page for the Pea Key.

The Pea Key will continue to be updated as information from various research projects becomes available. It provides an efficient and accessible means to identify all of Australia's pea-flowered legumes, whether native or naturalised. As an identification tool it should be of value to a range of users from professional botanists and resource managers through to students, horticulturalists and interested amateurs and will help to foster an understanding and appreciation of this interesting and important element of Australia's biological diversity.

For more information and feedback about The Pea Key please contact:

Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research
Australian National Herbarium
CSIRO Plant Industry
GPO Box 1600
Canberra ACT 2601

E-mail: canbr-info@anbg.gov.au

For more information about Lucid (the software running this package):

See 'About Lucid' and the Lucid Help in the help menu of the identification key, or visit www.lucidcentral.com

Copyright statement

Copyright/Intellectual property in data and/or illustrations procured for use in this project remain with the contributors.
The copyright for the final product is vested in the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, which grants usage of the product to the Commonwealth (ABRS).


Last updated 4 March, 2009 by webmaster@anbg.gov.au