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The Australian Native Plant Pages
News, information & resources about Australian native plants & gardens with emphasis on Brisbane & Qld

News

Oldest news is at the bottom, more recent entries are towards the top. Your media releases and other news are welcome!.

More than one scribbler

Although a distinctive feature of some Eucalypts, the cause of the "scribbles" on their trunks has until recently been little studied. The Australian Scribbly Gum Moth was thought to be the only species responsible, but thanks to a team of "retired" CSIRO scientists, we now know that at least twelve species of moths can create the phenomenon. Source: 'Retired' scientists unmask bush graffiti artist (November 2012)

Native street trees benefit birds

A "world-first" study conducted in Canberra reveals that native street trees can have a significant effect on the number and diversity of bird species in the area. Exotic tree species, while having certain landscaping advantages, are not as good as eucalypts (especially large ones) in supporting birdlife, whether by food, shelter or nesting sites. Even though some management may be required to keep large eucalypts safe in a suburban environment, the researchers urge the benefits to biodiversity to be considered in vegetation planning. This includes proactively planting young trees to replace the large trees when they eventually succumb to age. Source: Native street trees can boost birds' survival (November 2012)

Australian natives, Japanese style

The new Japanese Tea Garden at Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden features traditional design elements of a Soto Roji (outer tea garden), but is planted with species native to Sunshine Coast. The plants were chosen on the basis of similarities to the species that would have been used in Japan. Australian plant themed Japanese style garden unveiled (August 2012)

Inland cycad not a rainforest remnant

Analysis of the MacDonnell Ranges cycad (Macrozamia macdonellii), suggests its ancestors arrived in central Australia in only the last 2 million years or so. If it had been isolated from its eastern relatives for 30 million years, as previously thought, greater divergence should have been observed. This means that the cycad is probably not a survivor of an ancient Eocene era rainforest. Source: Cycads in central Australia are not ancient relics (August 2012)

Myrtle rust reaches FNQ

Myrtle rust has been identified in a number of locations in Far North Queensland including national parks: Myrtle rust spreads to Wet Tropics (May 2012)

Bowerbirds are gardeners, too
Research carried out in Taunton National Park in Queensland has revealed a high number of Solanum ellipticum around bowerbird bowers. Seeds in the fruits used to decorate them appear to be germinating nearby after the fruits are discarded, assisted by the birds' prior clearing of grass and weeds from the area. The scientists believe this is first known example of a species, other than humans, cultivating non-food plants. The birds also seem to be selecting for plants with more ornamental properties, with plants near bowers bearing fruit of a preferred greener colour. Source: Birds cultivate decorative plants to attract mates (April 2012)

Palm Valley not a Gondwana relic
New analysis of central Australia's Palm Valley palms suggests that they aren't the remains of a prehistoric rainforest, but that seeds were brought from the north Aboriginal people as recently as 15,000 years ago. More at the University of Tasmania website: Humans may explain the enigma of outback palms (March 2012)

PlantBank to preserve Australian biodiversity
Australia is to have its own major seed repository, with ground broken on PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan (NSW). In addition to storage of seed or live material - the ultimate goal is to bank every Australian species - research and public education will also take place at the facility. One of Australia's most important banks will store life itself (January 2012)

New hope for rare Westringia
The Snowy River Westringia (Westringia cremnophila), last seen in the wild in 2002, has been found again. They only occur on sheer cliffs along a short stretch of the Snowy River requiring white-water rafts to access. The relatively high number of plants found on this expedition (only four were seen in 2002) was a good sign for the survival of the species, but cuttings were also taken for propagation at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Source: Living on the Edge! - Rare plant continues to hang on (December 2011)

Landsborough environment to benefit from new nursery
With the help of Sunshine Coast Council, Barung Landcare will soon have a native nursery in Landsborough on the site of a former ostrich farm. It will supply the area with plants grown from locally collected seed. Read more at the Council's website: Council support for Barung Landcare (December 2011)

New Redland Bay islands plant ID book available
Volume 2 of "Native Plants of the Bay Islands" has been launched by Cow Bay Bushcare Group. For more information including where to obtain the book, go to the Redland City Council website: Bushcare group launches second volume of plant reference book (PDF) (November 2011)

Somerset supports Land for Wildlife
Somerset Regional Council will be joining the Land for Wildlife program for 2011-2015 period, funding activities such as property assessments and community field days and helping landowners learn how to protect flora and fauna on their properties. More at the council's website: Land for wildlife program back in the Somerset region (October 2011)

Gold Coast corridor network develops
Aquisition of 116 hectares in Cedar Creek by Gold Coast City Council will form a link between two major wildlife corridors. Flora and fauna surveys will now proceed to assist with management of the property. Koalas and grey goshawks have previously been recorded in the area. Source: Purchase cements two vital wildlife corridors (September 2011)

Saving nuts is far from nutty
The Macadamia Conservation Trust and Bundaberg Regional Council are working together to help preserve endangered Macadamia with a planting of rainforest trees at Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Four species will be planted: Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla, which are quite well known, plus the rare Macadamia ternifolia and Macadamia jansenii. This will not only help preserve their gene pools, but educate the public about the threat to native macadamia populations. Source: Endangered macadamia species to be planted at Bundaberg Botanic Gardens (August 2011)

Myrtle rust detected in North Qld again
The disease has been detected in nurseries in Cairns and Townsville. Source: North Queensland residents on call after myrtle rust detection (August 2011)

Land link for Sunshine Coast flora and fauna
Sunshine Coast Council has purchased over 200 hectares to form a link between Maleny National Park and Kondalilla National Park. The block is currently a mix of remnant vegetation, regrowth and cleared land. Restoration work will further enhance its value as a wildlife corridor into the future. Source: Koalas, possums and wallabies say thanks (August 2011)

Australian cucurbits identified
Confusion surrounding two Australian Cucurbitaceae first collected and named by Ferdinand von Mueller in the mid-1800s has finally been sorted out with DNA analysis. One turns out to be relative of the honeymelon Cucumis melo, while another is a species of Luffa. Source: DNA solves identities of Australian melons and loofah (July 2011)

Gold Coast environment gets land boost
The 265 Ha "Rosegum" and an adjoining 103 Ha at Bally Mountain have been added to the Gold Coast's conservation estate. The properies contain many threatened plant and animal species and will form an important part of the Burleigh to Springbrook Corridor. Source: Greening the Gold Coast through partnership (July 2011)

Macadamia's Qld ancestry to be explored
Samples of from some of the few remaining wild macadamias in SE Qld and NNSW are being collected for genetic analysis for use in ongoing dfevelopment of the crop. The first nuts taken to Hawaii in 1982 by Captain Jordan, which led to the macadamia becoming an internationally valued nut crop, came from Pimpama. One of the goals of the current research is to confirm whether "The Jordan Tree" on the Gold Coast is actually the ancestor from which the Hawaiin cultivars were developed. Source: Geneticists seek mother of all macadamias on the Gold Coast (July 2011)

Myrtle rust in Hervey Bay
After discovery of the fungus on a plant in Urangan, surveillence in the Hervey Bay area and Fraser island will be conducted. Source: Myrtle rust spreads to Hervey Bay (May 2011)

Myrtle Rust in Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
Plants on which the pathogen has been identified includes three new hosts. Biosecurity Queensland recommend vistors tot he Gardens avoid contact with mrytaceous plants. Source: Myrtle rust confirmed at Botanic Gardens (May 2011)

Myrtle rust found in Lamington National Park
An outbreak in and around the Green Mountains campground has been detected. The disease has also been confirmed at Kondalilla National Park near Mapleton. Source: National parks on alert after myrtle rust detection. (March 2011)

Miners set sights on Scenic Rim
The natural values of the Mt Barney and Maroon areas, and the economy that rely on them, are now under threat from mining. More information at Keep The Scenic Rim Scenic.

Planting guide for cyclone regions
Associate Professor Betsy Jackes has written a guide based on almost 40 years of observations to help residents of north Queensland and Darwin select and cultivate trees with safety in mind. No tree is totally cyclone-proof, but factors such as the leaf type, branching structure, type of root system, conditions at planting and subsequent pruning can also affect their performance in a cyclone. You can find the guide at the Jame Cook University website here: Choosing Plants for Areas Prone to Cyclones. (March 2011)

Myrtle Rust spotted in Boonah
A single infected plant has been located on a private property. More information at Scenic Rim Regional Council website: Myrtle Rust Confirmed in Boonah (10 March 2011)(PDF)

Myrtle Rust in Cairns
The disease has been found in a retail nursery in Cairns, but not before several plants from the same consignment had already been sold. Media release: Myrtle rust confirmed in Cairns nursery (23 February, 2011)

ALERT: Gardeners' rights be be further restricted
All Australians, especially anyone who grows or handles plants, should be aware of proposals from the federal government to expand the list of species to be banned or regulated due to alleged drug dangers. In addition to the popular ornamental Brugmansia, a horrifying range of plants including many Australian natives and common garden exotics could potentially be banned. The website gardenfreedom.com provides more information on this issue, including how you can have your say. Be sure to view their FAQ section!

Myrtle Rust spreads in Qld
According to the 16th February update, MR has been confirmed on 34 sites including private residences. For more information go to www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au

Myrtle Rust reaches Sunshine Coast
Infected plants have been found in a park at Noosaville. Media release: Myrtle rust confirmed in parkland in Queensland (8th February 2011).

ALERT: Myrtle Rust found in SE QLD
First found in Australia in NSW last year, the disease has recently been identified in three plant nurseries in Qld (Myrtle rust confirmed in South East Queensland, 05 January, 2011). Appropriate measures have been taken to contain the infections, but other nurseries are urged to monitor plants. Members of the plant family Myrtaceae, which includes Callistemon and Syzygium, are hosts or potential host of this disease and anyone who has recently purchased such a plant from from a nursery in SE Qld should also check for symptoms. More information and images at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au. Report any suspect plants to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Boonah tree is international film star
After a two-year search for just the right tree to feature in the film The Tree, a stunning fig in the SE Qld town of Boonah was cast in the role. The Tree has since been screened at the Cannes Film Festival and elsewhere. You can find out more at the website: www.thetreefilm.com.

Cabbage palms are not Gondwana survivors
DNA studies from University of Queensland have disproved that Australia's cabbage palms (Livistona spp.) were part of the ancient Gondwanan flora. Instead, it appears that these palms entered Australia after the break-up of Gondwana, probably from South-East Asia. The researchers also found that central Australia's Palm Valley palms are very similar to palms in the north of the Northern Territory, possibly dispersing along water courses that existed at times during the last one or two million years. Source: UQ research finds palm trees may not be native to Australia (July 2010)

Bush tucker garden for USQ
A garden to promote understanding of indigenous women and health is planned at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. Featuring bush tucker and medicinal species, the Gumbi-Gumbi garden is named for Pittosporum augustifolium. Source: Gumbi-Gumbi Garden planned for USQ (June 2010)

Highvale greener, water cleaner
Moreton Bay Regional Council and Greening Australia believe that the 60 000 native trees they recently planted at Westbourne Park will reduce erosion and improve water quality in the tributary of South Pine River that runs through the park. 10 000 additional plants will go in at nearby Allan Smith Park. Read more at the counci website: 60,000 Plants Planted (May 2010)

Iconic trees to grace Brisbane schools
Junction Park State School is one of fifteen to be gifted a grove of native Brisbane trees including hoop pines and silky oak, as part of Connecting Brisbane celebrations: Junction Park State School plants a piece of history (Brisbane City Council) (August 2009)

Tygum Park plans finalised
Following community consultation, Logan City Council has endorsed the final landscape master plan for Tygum Park. Landscaping willl include improved habitat for flora and fauna around the lagoon. Play areas, cycle paths, and improved facilties for model boat club are among the features local residents will enjoy. Read more: Tygum Park upgrade to progress

Major aquisition creates Redland wildlife corridor
282 hectares in Redland Bay represents the largest single land purchase for conservation purposes in the region. It has helped create a 822 hectare corridor of bushland. Redland City council hopes to eventually to provide trails for hiking, cycling and birdwatching, providing recreational opportunities for the community in addition to helping a number of threatened species. Source: Latest conservation purchase the largest in city's history (PDF) (June 2009)

Australians return from space mission
The Australian native plant seeds that were launched into space last year have returned to Earth. While Wollemi Pine germination tests are still underway, the Golden Wattle, Flannel Flower and Waratah seeds have germinated normally. They appear to have survived six months of microgravity and low-level ionising radiation in the International Space Station without damage, but will continue to be monitored and tested. The ability to withstand such conditions will be important if plants are to be cultivated in space greenhouses in the future, or perhaps on other planets. Source: Astronaut announces seedlings-from-space (June 2009)

Big Tree Database for Australia
Ever wondered how big the largest specimen of a tree species is, or where it's located? A National Register of Big Trees is now being established to collect such information for Australia. Members of the public will be able to nominate native or exotic trees of significance in parks and gardens as well as natural habitats. Learn more at the website: National Register of Big Trees

Reforestation of land at Victoria Point
A piece of land in Victoria Point owned by Redland City Council will be part of a SEQ carbon offset trial initiated by the Council of Mayors. Restoration of the site in Bunker Road will also enhance the Eprapah Creek corridor, which contains significant flora and fauna. Read more here: Redlands site chosen for carbon offset tree planting trial (PDF)(May 2009)

New addition to Cameron's Scrub Reserve
Ipswich City council has increased the size of Cameron's Scrub Reserve with 13 hectares of land purchased with money from the Enviroplan Levy. This will increase recreational opportunities for residents as well help preserve significant animal and plant species. Source: Council increases Conservation Area at Pine Mountain (May 2009)

Cornubia Forest Park expanding
43 hectares of high biodiversity bushland in Cornubia has been jointly purchased by the Federal Government and the Logan City Council and will be added to Cornubia Forest Park. The $1.2 milion contribution from Logan City Council came from the Environmental Levy paid by ratepayers. Species the bushland is habitat to include koalas, powerful owls and glossy black cockatoos. Read more from the Council here: Council unveils major expansion for Cornubia Forest Park. (April 2009)

Ipswich native on critically endangered list
Notelaea ipsviciensis, also known as Cooneana Olive, has been officially recognised as critically endangered by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. The plant occurs in the Ipswich suburbs of Dinmore and Ebbw Vale and only about 16 plants are known in the wild. It's a small, slow growing shrub that produces a purple fleshy fruit. More at Ipswich City Council website: Cooneana Olive on critically endangered list. (March 2009)

Vine identification in Moreton region
Weedy vines can be very damaging to native bushland. Moreton Bay Regional Council has released a new booklet to help residents identify and control pest species. Eighteen local vine species are also featured, including the Richmond Birdwing Vine (food source for caterpillars of the vulnerable Richmond Birdwing butterfly.) "Vines of the Moreton Bay Region" can be downloaded from www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au or collected from customer service centres, libraries, and environmental centres in the region. (December 2008)

"Frogs Booklet" updated
A new version of the popular publication from Moreton Bay Regional Council is now available. It contains hints on how to help frogs plus photographs and descriptions of 35 species local to the Moreton Bay area. More information about obtaining the booklet here: Free Frog Booklet for Frog Fans. (October, 2008)

Moreton Bay botanic garden a possibility
Following a request from the Society for Growing Australian Plants Queensland Region, Moreton Bay Regional Council will consider the establishment of a new botanic garden as part of an assessement of botanic and horticultural "values" in the area. A diverse range of ecosystems is now within the boundaries of one local authority (following amalgamation of Pine Rivers, Caboolture and Redcliffe councils). A floral emblem for the new council will also be considered. More from Moreton Bay Regional Council: Botanic garden review (October, 2008)

Something old, something new for Flinders St Mall
Townsville City council intends saving about 50 trees growing in planter boxes in Flinders St Mall for later use in the redeveloped Mall. The first tree has been removed as a trial. From their temporary home at the depot, the trees are destined for incorporation into a new-look streetscape, with plantings inspired by the region's ecosystems. More here: Plan to save Mall trees swings into action (Townsville City Council) (September 2008)

Council is a palm fan
Cairns Regional Council has adopted a new logo featuring the native fan palm Licuala ramsayi, which grows throughout the new authority's region. View the new logo here: Council unveils its new visual identity (August 2008)

Australian native seeds in space
Seeds of four Australian native species have recently been sent into orbit to test their response to microgravity and ionising radiation. This is a first step towards determining whether Australia, which is home to some of the toughest seeds on earth, might contribute plants for the colonisation of other planet at some time in the future. More from Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, available here. (August 2008)

Boost for native bees
Gold Coast City Council wants to make developers responsible for hiring native bee spotters and catchers before bushland is cleared. Hives will be relocated to conservation areas. The survival of these pollinators may be particularly important if Varroa Mite or other pests or diseases of exotic honey bees reach Australia. More information at their website: City's sweetener for Aussie bees could be a bonus for the bush (July 2008)

Australian native plant unextinct
Euphrasia arguta (Scrophulariaceae), last recorded in 1904 and considered extict, has recently been rediscovered in the Nundle State Forest, near Tamworth, NSW. Blast from the past: Rare plant discovered 100 years after last sighting (NSW Dept Primary Industries).

New features at Townsville botanic garden
A new cycad garden and an avenue planting of 50 Kauri Pines is opening at Anderson Gardens. One of three botanic gardens in Townsville, Anderson Gardens is developing a theme of "dry tropical and native flora". Read more: Council unveils new plantings at Anderson Gardens (Townsville City Council)

White Beech update
The project aimed at replenshing numbers of White Beech trees on Beechmont plateau has encountered a delay. Rains have stimulated vegetative growth instead of flowers from mature trees, interrupting plans for seed collection this year. However, it's hoped that seeds will be available for propagation next summer. For more information on the project, contact Beechmont District Landcare Association Inc.

Leafy developments for Ipswich
Ipswich City Council's new tree retention policy aims for a compromise between development and environment, to the benefit of future residents. Retention of existing trees will be encouraged. Where this is not possible, a one-for-one tree replacement policy will require developers to either plant a new tree or contribute to a special tree fund for every tree they remove. Read more at the Ipswich City Council website: Council mandates tree retention in new developments (February 2008)

White Beech returns to Beech Mountain
White Beech (Gmelina) will be appearing in greater numbers on the Beechmont plateau in future. It's hoped that seedlings raised in Beaudesert Shire Council's nursery from seed collected by Beechmont Landcare will be available to Beechmont residents by late 2009. The once-plentiful beech trees, from which Beechmont (formally Beech Mountain) gets its name, have been greatly diminished in number by past logging. Read more at the Council website: Putting the Beech back into Beechmont (PDF)

Events

If you live in Queensland, take a look at The Queensland Gardening Pages Events Diary, which includes a variety of garden events happening around the state. It's the place to look for information on shows and workshops about native plants and related subjects in Qld.


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