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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

An Alphabet of White Flowers

I have in the (fairly distant) past, compiled alphabets of both yellow and red flowers. Today, on a mere whim, I have decided to do the same with white flowers. The 'rules', as before, are that where possible I've illustrated each letter with a genus, but where that proved unachievable I've settled for a species name. In this way I've managed to fill every letter except Z - even the hitherto unattainable Y! (Y is highly problematic because it doesn't exist in Latin.) The focus is on Australian plants, but I've included some lovely examples from both South America and Africa. It's not meant to be too deep, and I'm going away for a couple of weeks tomorrow (inter alia gathering lots of material for future posts!), so I've kept it pretty simple. Let's start - I hope you enjoy the journey!

A
Mountain Celery Aciphylla glacialis Family Apicaceae, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales.
This beautiful herb is limited to the high mountains of southern New South Wales and Victoria.
It has recovered from a parlous situation since stock grazing was removed from the alpine parks.
B
Snow Daisies Brachyscome nivalis, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory.
Another species from the south-eastern alps (and nothing in the rules says they have to be completely white!).
C
Swamp Crinum Crinum uniflorum Family Amaryllidaceae, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.
This lovely lily is found in damp sandy situations across northern Australia.
D
Disa sp., Bamenda Highlands, western Cameroon. One of some 180 species of this orchid genus,
mostly from Africa. The Bamenda Highlands are being rapidly denuded of rainforest by small-scale farming
and eucalypt plantations.
E
Pinkwood Eucryphia moorei, Family Eucryphiaceae (sometimes Cunoniaceae),
Monga National Park, southern New South Wales.
This is a tree of the cool rainforests, and an ancient Gondwanan; the genus is also found in South America.
F
Caladenia (or Arachnorchis) flindersica, Alligator Gorge, Mt Remarkable National Park, South Australia.
The species name (I always seem to have trouble with F-genera!) refers to its home in the Flinders Ranges.
G
Mueller's Snow-Gentian Gentianella muelleriana (above and below), brightening a wet misty summer's day
in Kosciuszko National Park. (For a while the Australian and New Zealand snow-gentians were given their
own genus Chionogentias, but they have more recently been returned to the widespread Gentianella)
H
Snakebush Hemiandra sp, Family Lamiaceae, Norseman, Western Australia.
And no, I'm afraid I can't shine any light on the unlikely-sounding common name.
I
Wee Jasper Grevillea Grevillea iaspicula Family Proteaceae, Southern Tablelands Ecosytems Park, Canberra.
The species name is an attempt at Latinising the quaint locality name (near to Canberra).
This is the only photo here not taken in the wild; this is a highly localised and threatened species.
J
Jonesiopsis incensa, Wubin, Western Australia.
Note that this genus name, commemorating eminent Australian orchid taxonomist and iconoclast David Jones,
is no longer widely recognised. (J-names are not easy to find though!)
K
    Kunzea muelleri, Family Myrtaceae, Kosciuszko National Park, where it can be a dominant shrub
in the alpine heaths. The genus commemorates German botanist Gustav Kunze.
L
Arrayan Luma apiculata Family Myrtaceae, Alerce Andino National Park, southern Chile.
This beautiful tree grows in wet forests.
M
Carpet of Snow Macgregoria racemigera Family Celastraceae, Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia.
This delightful and surprising little plant can indeed carpet the desert sands in good seasons.
N
Giant Waterlily Nymphaea gigantea Family Nymphaeaceae, James River, Barkly Tableland,
north-eastern Northern Territory. Found across northern Australia and in New Guinea.
O
Huilmo Olysnium biflora Family Iridaceae, Torres del Paine NP, southern Chile.
This is a genus of 17 iris species, all South American except for one in North America.
P
Broad Foxtail Ptilotus nobilis Family Amaranthaceae, far northern South Australia.
Found right across inland Australia, this handsome ephemeral can stretch to the horizon after good rains.
Q
Sturt's Pigface Gunniopsis quadrifida, Family Aizoaceae, Lake Hart, South Australia.
A succulent also found across the dry Australian inland, growing on the shores of dry salt lakes.
R
Splendid Everlasting Rhodanthe chlorocephala, near Cue, inland central Western Australia.
A truly magnificent daisy, found only in this region of the west.
S
Sobralia virginalis, eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes, east of Cusco.
A striking big orchid, in this case just growing on the roadside.
T
Tufted Grass Lily Thelionema caespitosa Family Hemerocallidaceae, Tallong, southern New South Wales.
U
Prickly Moses Acacia ulicifolia Deua NP, southern New South Wales.
A very pale-flowered wattle, common around Sydney, where its common name arose
as a mangling of the original Prickly Mimosa.
V
Valeriana rigida Family Valerianaceae (or Caprifoliaceae), El Cajas NP, southern Ecuador.
A smallish genus from both Europe (including the medicinal herb) and the Americas.
This one forms stiff mats at high altitudes - here at close to 4000 metres above sea level.
W
Tineo Weinmannia trichosperma Family Cunoniaceae, Salto Petrohue, southern Chile.
A tree of the southern Andean wet forests, from an old Gondwanan family.
X
Southern Cross Plant Xanthosia rotundifolium Two Peoples Bay NP, southern Western Australia.
A remarkable-looking member of the carrot family - and a valid 'X'!
Y
Yalata Mallee Eucalyptus yalatensis, Nullarbor Plain, far western South Australia.
Y-names are very rare in botany, as Latin lacks the letter; however this one was named for the
locality of Yalata, an indigenous word.
Which, in the sad absence of a Z plant, brings us to the end! I hope you've enjoyed this bit of trivia, and perhaps met some lovely flowers for the first time.

BACK ON THURSDAY (with one I've prepared!)
(And remember that you can get a reminder when the next post appears by putting your email address in the Follow by Email box in the top right of this screen.)
I shall be away until 15 August and will not be able to reply to any comments
you make until after that, unless you do so very soon after this posting.
I shall certainly do so however, so please check back.
 

4 comments:

Flabmeister said...

Zieria smithii? That has been seen by the ANPS group in this area and apparently has white flowers. But I don't have a photo either (Plantnet does)!

Ian Fraser said...

Actually almost any Zieria would have done, but annoyingly I haven't taken a photo of one since I've had a digital camera!

KayePea said...

May I ask if you know what the ''bunches of carrots'' are that feature so heavily in picture M please Ian?

Ian Fraser said...

Hi KayePea; hope you find this! The carrots are actually succulent leaves of pigface - family Aizoaceae, but I can't be more accurate than that I'm afraid.