Reproductive Maturity in Plants

I presented a poster at this years Ecological Society of Australia Conference, held in Adelaide.  My poster presented my initial ideas for writing a review on reproductive maturity in plants, how this term is quantified and how these data are used in management.  ESA has fabulous student prizes each year (https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/events-and-activities/conferences/student-prizes), and I was fortunate enough to take home a prize from the Australian Flora Foundation, Thanks!

 

FreyaESAPostercopy

Thirty years after Noble and Slatyer’s (1980) use of minimal demographic data to predict species replacement sequences and vegetation response to recurrent disturbances, ecologists are still ignorant of basic knowledge of life history characteristics for many plant species, and managers are still asking for it.  While qualitative data are reasonably widely available, quantitative data on species life history characteristics are often lacking despite being fundamentally useful for quantifying growth rates and ‘age to reproductive maturity’ for use in ecological fire management.

‘Reproductive maturity’ is a central concept for predicting species responses to disturbance, yet is linguistically vague with uncertainties surrounding what to measure, when, why and how to quantify it. Different types of data can be modelled in different ways.  The probability of reproduction to plant size through logistic regression, if fecundity is directly measured, we can characterise reproductive output with a sigmoid curve, or do both using a ‘hurdle’ model which combines probabilities of being reproductively mature with sized-based estimates of expected reproductive output.  The different data types and the different modelling approaches give us more or less flexible inference that can be used for management.

Please get in touch if you are interested in any of these ideas!

And yes, all photos are my own… and that massive flower took a long time to make!

 

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My Veski Fellowship experience

I was fortunate to receive a Veski Fellowship, which allowed me to travel overseas this year for five-months visiting researchers and managers in Mediterranean regions of the world, as well as a few extra countries with specialists who are doing researched aligned to mine.

A sunset in Spain

I am beginning to try to capture this incredible experience by the written word, and will be posting a series of blogs about my trip. To start with, below is a brief overview of places I went, people I met and things I did.

I began my journey in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The first of many friendly and generous ecologists I met with was Phil Rundel, who is a Distinguished Professor within the School of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. I was very fortunate to benefit from Phil’s hospitality and I enjoyed a tour of the magnificent grounds of UCLA, sat in on one of his field lectures that took place in the impressive Mildred E. Mathias Botanic Garden and enjoyed a fieldtrip with Phil, benefitting from his botanical knowledge, into some of California’s Chaparral.

Some Chaparral in The Santa Monica Mountains

It was also a pleasure to meet Sarah Ratay, a Californian botanist and current PhD student of Phil Rundel. Sarah introduced me to Steve Laymon, another Californian Botanist and the three of us went botanizing over a weekend to Wind Wolves Preserve an impressive Conservation Area in an ecologically unique region of California. We were hunting a particular Genus in the Onagraceae, Clarkia, which Steve is currently compiling a field guide for.

Clarkia

Two species in the genus Clarkia in Onagraceae, which we hunted in Wind Wolves Preserve.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Martha Whitter, a manager for the National Parks Service in Los Angeles. She showed me a patch of her favourite chaparral, which included an interesting herb field and we discussed fire management in LA and the similarities and differences attitudes, approaches and available data in connection with ecological management between Victoria and California.

LA

Some Californian species and an example of a herb field moving into a patch of Oak woodlands, before becoming Chaparral in The Santa Monica Mountains.

I met with John Keeley, who works with the United States Geological Survey at the Western Ecological Research Centre which is located at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Field Station in the National Park . I also met with many of the other friendly and interesting folk who work there, including Nate Stevenson and Tony Carsarcio. This was an excellent opportunity for me to chat with fire managers as well as fire ecologists about fire management within the National Park. I was also fortunate to fit in some more chaparral botanizing, as well as a trip with Jon to visit those Giant Sequoias. It was a pleasure to meet Melanie Keeley who runs the indigenous plant nursery within the National Park and see her propagation skills in action.

Sequoia

Some fabulous plants of Sequoia National Park, including a Giant Redwood.

I took a drive into the central Californian Valley and went to UC Merced to visit Associate Professor Emily Moran to speak about the kinds of demographic data that are used in complex multi-species plant models, the various places these data may be sourced from and the evaluation of hierarchical models.

I then drove through the Mojave Desert, stopping to look at some Joshua Trees, to UC Riverside, where I met with Professor Helen Regan. By this time, I had explained my research to quite a few scientist and managers, but it seems like everyone has a slightly different research focus and therefore slightly different questions of comments on my research. This was undoubtedly one of the most useful aspects of my trip, having to explain my research over and over and respond to a diverse range of constructive criticism. I really valued my chat with Helen and it left me with a couple of points in my notebook to think about and address in future papers.

JoshuaTrees

Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert

I happened to be in town for the 25th Graduate Student meeting of the Californian Botanical Society  and I was asked to be a student judge that day. This was a great opportunity to hear the types of botanical research that is happening in California and it was a pleasure to talk botanical talk in the evening at the Conference Dinner.

I then travelled over the East Coast of The USA, to visit Patuxent Wildlife Research Center . This was a fabulous place to visit, not only to pick the brains of the excellent decision scientists who work there, but also because it was the site of much of the research that was written about in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. During my stay I learnt a little about Decision Science with Michael Runge, Jim Nicholls and Sarah Converse. I had seriously helpful discussions about evaluating hierarchical models with Bill Link and Andy Royale and chatted about designing useful field optimization functions with Jim Hines.   From here I travelled to Michigan to undertake a course in Structured Decision Making at The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. This was not only a fabulous course, taught by Sean Blomquist and Pat Heglund, but also a fascinating opportunity to listen to reserve managers who were keen to implement the SDM framework into their practices.

Patuxent

Some ecosystems at Patuxent, it was the beginning of Spring and everything was starting to bloom.

I travelled from The USA to Dublin, Ireland to meet with Professor Yvonne Buckley at Trinity College, Dublin. I am interested in the kinds of data that are used when people research, or use the term ‘reproductive maturity’ in relation to plants. At Trinity College I accessed the species matrix models and worked on code to calculate aspects of reproductive maturity for the species contained within this dataset, such as ‘reproductive value’ and ‘net reproductive rate’.

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A gorgeous Irish Violet

Whilst there I also had the pleasure of meeting Anna Csergo, a post doctoral fellow at Trinity College who steers the Plant PopNet project, which is a global demographic study of Plantago lanceolata (Planataginaceae). An incidental, yet very fortunate opportunity also came to meet Antoine Guisan and Olivier Broennimann. There was another Southern visitor too, Ronny Groenteman from Landcare Research in New Zealand. Ronny works on bio control and is interested in integral projection models of Hypericum perforatum (Hypericaceae) also known as Saint Johns Wart.

Burren

The Burren – a diverse area of Ireland

I went to Valencia, Spain to meet with Juli Pausas  at Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertification, a fire ecologist who has published extensively on fire persistence traits in Mediterranean ecosystems. Whilst there, we began writing a paper together on the proportional change of functional groups over a productivity and disturbance gradient, which is an extension of an earlier paper of his. We are going to be including changes in phylogenetic and functional diversity as well as consider multiple fire related functional types in this new analysis.

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Ivy called Yedra in Spanish, also the name of the lovely Yedra Garcia!

The lab that he works in happens to also be full of other excellent people, and it was a delight to meet Miguel Verdu, Patricio Garcia-Fayos, Jose Navarro Cano, Matra Goberna, Alicia Montesinos and Eduardo Perez. I also had the pleasure of spending some time in the field with Yedra Garcia, helping to collect data for her PhD.

Spain

Some burnt Spanish vegetation

From Spain, I jetted South to Cape Town, South Africa.

I went to The University of Cape Town to meet with Emeritus Professor William Bond and Professor Jeremy Midgley. There, my work focused on discussions around the concept of plant reproductive maturity and what it means in different Mediterranean regions for fire management. I was very fortunate to get some field time with both William and Jeremy, and this provided an excellent opportunity for me to see the South African Fynbos, Renosterveld and Savannah ecosystems and compare plant strategies across these different ecosystems, but also to the other Mediterranean ecosystems I had previously visited.  A particular highlight was to visit Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in the North East of South Africa, and help out with some fieldwork with two of William’s students; Josh van der Ploeg and Huyam Altayeb, both of whom are working on plants in savannah ecosystem.

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One of around 900 Erica species, many of which look small and pink.

Whilst at UCT, I also met with Ross Turner, an exceptional botanist and an Erica specialist, Heath Beckett, a PhD student of William Bond studying forest-thicket-savannah dynamics and Tristian Charles-Dominic a Post Doctoral Researcher studying plant architecture and functional types in Savannah plants.

Whilst in Cape Town I also visited SAEON – The South African Environmental Observation Network, and I met with Dr Jasper Slingsby who is both a lovely person and an excellent botanist! It was a pleasure to hike over Table Mountain botanizing and collecting climate data with him.

Of course, all of this was interspersed with many walks in the stunning Kirstenbosch Gardens.

SouthAfrica

Oh Fynbos… how I miss you.

The final destination of my trip was to Grenoble, France, to practice my French speaking skills and visit Dr Wilfried Thuiller at Laboratoire d’ecologie alpine (LECA) in Grenoble. Here, I discussed using and calculating phylogenetic and functional diversity with Wilfried and Dr Loic Chalmandrier, a recently finished PhD student.

Alps

Some French and Italian Mountains and plants.

Thanks to Dr Amelie Saillard, I was able to visit Lautaret Alpine Botanic Garden, and meet the organisers, botanists and volunteers who keep the gardens running. I was also fortunate to experience a day in the field measuring the demography of Eryngium alpinum (Apiaceae) with Irene Till-Bottraud, the director of LECA and Ceres Barros and Brad Carlson, PhD students of Wilfried Thuiller.

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Eryngium sp. (Apiaceae)

It was fabulous opportunity to see the French Alps and here about Cere’s work with the FATE model. I also got some alpine botanizing done in Italy, with a visit with Dr Matt Tullato, a post doc in LECA to Gran Paradiso National Park. A lovely coincidence occurred and one of our very own Qaecologists, Dr Laura Pollock is now working as a post doc at LECA. We had a productive time together constructing a phylogeny for some of my study species and finishing off a paper on the influence of functional traits on Mallee eucalypt species distributions.

Needless to say, a trip like this is hard to capture briefly! Please stay tuned for some more in depth posts, particularly about the ecological systems I saw and all those plants I photographed!

A huge thank you to everyone who I met overseas, those already mentioned and many un-mentioned here.  One big lesson I learnt, was that the world is packed full of friendly and generous folk, and from my sampled data there seems to be a strong correlation between being an ecologist and being a most excellent person.

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Mimetes sp. (Proteaceae) South Africa.

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Ok, so Eucalyptus pauciflora are pretty alright #FavEuc

What is your favourite eucalypt?

The Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group are polling Australia’s Favourite Eucalypt, click here for more details.  What is your favourite eucalypt?  This intriguing question has spurred tea room discussion, blog campaigns and, of course, tweeting #FavEuc frenzies.

My initial #FavEuc response was something along the lines of ‘plants are like children for me, its just not right to pick favs’.  As a slight plant nut, I often get asked what my favourite plant is, and I genuinely find it very difficult to decide… there is a time and a  place and a certain light for every plant out there.

However, I have to admit, Eucalyptus pauciflora are pretty alright.

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Some E. pauciflora on a rocky knoll on The Bogong High Plains

Eucalyptus pauciflora are common at high elevations in Australia (hence common name Snow Gums), although there are a couple of examples of  isolated lowland occurrences.

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Their height can vary substantially, from 1m to up to 20m.  Their bark is smooth,  with colours ranging from clean white with grey strips to seasonal variations around the shades of olive green to red and pink.

Their leaves are variable in shape and length, shiny green on both sides with conspicuous veins running lengthwise.  Juvenile leaves are opposite and ovate before becoming alternate and elongated in mature plants.

E. pauciflora fruit

E. pauciflora fruit

 

 

Their buds are club shaped, 7 – 12 per clustered in axils with caps with short points.  Fruits are variable between subspecies though commonly have short pedicels, with a flat or slightly depressed disc and small valves at rim level.

When seen flowering, this usually occurs between Oct and Feb.

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E. pauciflora leaves and flowers

Littler known facts:

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An example of a tree with multiple reclining options

When found at high elevations, E. pauciflora are often multi-stemmed, with low, thick trunks providing excellent sitting, leaning or reclining habitats for ecologists.

When burnt, E. pauciflora resprout.   Burnt white/grey stems often remain above new resprouting stems, which provide stark contrasts to blue alpine skies which have been known to inspire many pauses of thought and contemplation for the alpine walker.

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Green, white and blue

I will leave you with this ancient example of a gorgeous snow gum:

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Costermans, L (1994) ‘Native trees and shrubs of south-eastern Australia’.  5th Ed. New Holland Publishers, Australia.

All photos are my own.

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Since November…

Its been a little while since my last post, and while I will eventually get to ‘the hierarchical bit of my hierarchical models’, I thought I would first explain my absence.  My last blog post was in November, since then I have participated in a few research related adventures, some highlights include:

  • Helping organise and run our MUBoGS Mini Conference 
    Our MUBoGS Mini Conference involved around 40 postgraduate students from The School of Botany giving ‘speed talks’ of their research.  This turned out to be a fantastic day and a fantastic challenge for us all to get the main points of our research across to an educated but unspecialised audience in just three minutes.
  • Presenting ESA_2012_reduced copymy initial research thoughts at ESA 2012 held in Melbourne


I presented a poster explaining the rationale behind one chapter of my PhD and this was an excellent opportunity to speak to like minded researchers, get some solid advice and practice explaining myself and my work over and over again.

  • Holiday: explored Mt Wellington, Lake Tali Karng and Spion Kopje on a little hiking trip: A beautiful area of Victoria, look it up and check it out.

    Lake Tali Karng

    Lake Tali Karng

  • Volunteering on the NutNet Project with Dr Joslin Moore and Kate Giljohann in Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia.
    The Nutrient Network is a global research cooperative which aims to collect information about environment-productivity-diversity relationships across the globe.  Their current focal research questions include questions about the generality of our current understanding of productivity-diversity relationships, how plant production and diversity are co-limited by nutrient availability in herbaceous dominated communities and how grazers and fertilisation control plant biomass, diversity and composition.
    Check out their website: http://www.nutnet.umn.edu

    Awesome Clouds from the NutNet study site at Falls Creek

    Awesome Clouds from the NutNet study site at Falls Creek

  •  Demonstrating on The Uni Melb Field Botany Trip to The Bogong High Plains, Falls Creek, Victoria.
    This was great fun and a great opportunity to pick the brains of Dr Andrew Drinnen, Dr Peter Vesk and Daniel Olsen about plant families, genera and species that exist in this region of The Alpine National Park.  It was also rewarding to help and watch students work out what ‘spotting characters’ are and how important they can be for distinguishing between plant families quickly.  http://www.botany.unimelb.edu.au/ugcourses/606310/

    As well as seeing lots of plants, we also got some spectacular Fire Clouds at Falls Creek.

    As well as seeing lots of plants, we also got some spectacular Fire Clouds at Falls Creek.

  • Participating on many School of Botany Writing Retreats
    Our lab group have begun holding weekend Writing Retreats.  The point of this, is to provide a well supported, quiet and well structured writing time for people who have things to get written!  We work on a tight schedule of hour and a half and two hour writing blocks, interspersed with some breaks with include talking, laughing and eating homemade goodies together.  The point is to have a well defined goal for the weekend, and meet that with the help of peer support and celebrations at the end of the day.  
  • Organising, putting together and stressing about my one year Confirmation.
    One report, one presentation and one discussion later, I am now confirmed.  The act of having to write a solid research proposal, speak to this in front of my Advisory Committee and think about (and stress about) every little aspect of my project really helped to solidify some of my ideas and aims, as well as clearly highlighting areas that need more thought.  Overall, a positive experience.
  •  Visiting my study sites in Murray Sunset National Park for some intense field thinking.  A pilot study to prepare me for this spring.  Data collection, here I come.

    A Beyeria opaca seedling

    A Beyeria opaca seedling


    Doing a PhD is an exciting time to get involved with many different projects and meet lots of new people.  As Melbourne in getting chillier though, I am getting back to my models.

 

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Your thesis in 3 minutes

MUBoGS Mini Conference

Although I suggested in my last post that my next one would be about the hierarchical bit of hierarchical models, I am instead taking this opportunity to briefly present a little group called ‘MUBoGS’ and a little conference called ‘The MUBoGS Mini Conference’.

The postgraduate students in The School of Botany, here at Uni Melb, are getting active.  The Melbourne University Botany Graduate Society, affectionately known as MUBoGS, is holding the first Graduate School of Botany Mini Conference.

Our MUBoGS flyer. Note: mini plant (Wow!)

Most postgraduate members from the School (including Hons, Masters and PhDs) across all the lab groups will be presenting their thesis topics in 3 minutes and with the aid of up to 2 (non-animated) slides.

3-minute presentations, or ‘speed talks’ are becoming more frequent, both in conference settings but also within academic institutions. Annually, the University of Queensland runs a very successful 3MT competition that is open to students from many Universities from around the world.

The idea is to give postgrads a chance to practice effective communication of their research to an educated but unspecialised audience (see here for more info and some examples of cool, calm, collected and concise speakers, and here for good advice about preparing for a 3MT comp).

Putting together a 3-minute talk takes a whole lot longer than just 3 minutes.
The aim is to communicate what you’re researching, why you’re doing it and why it’s important.  Often these talks are judged firstly on your communication style, specifically whether you can get a non-specialised audience to understand the significance of your research, but also on how engaging you are.  Condensing the fundamentals of your research into something that can be delivered and understood efficiently is both surprisingly challenging and surprisingly rewarding.

Can you make people understand and care about your research in 3 minutes?

The postgraduate students here in The School of Botany will soon find out.  Our first Mini Conference is shaping up to be an excellent day.  As well as our students presenting, we are having panel discussions of PhD and Postdocs talking about transitions from PhD to ‘Post-PhD-Work’ and sharing some hints about ‘things I wished somebody had told me…’  We are also planning some social trivia and there will be many ‘Mini Plants’ to win throughout the day.

Stay tuned for more Mini Conference news…

And… here’s a photo of Eucalyptus incrassata (+ ants) flowering in the mallee…

Eucalyptus incrassata from Murray Sunset

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‘Model’ refers to…

My blog is titled Freya’s Research, but to date, there has (rather sneakily) been a lack of posts related to what I actually do here in the QAEco lab.   Unfortunately, I don’t just look at orchids and take photos of Acacia.

Caladenia alpina (orchid), Acacia sp. (wattle) and Diuris sp. (orchid)

A large part of my PhD will be building a hierarchical Bayesian model that incorporates plant functional traits as species level predictors of plant growth and reproduction.

In my next couple of posts I will endeavor to explain all these terms (but don’t worry there will also be a few posts about what is flowering around Melbourne). For my first post in this series about my research, I would like to start from the start and try to explain what a model is.

Needless to say, googling “model” gives you mixed results. I found it easier to ask my Supervisor for a good book on modelling.  The result of this was a book, ‘How to Model It, Problem solving for the Computer Age’ by Anthony Starfield, Karl Smith and Andrew Bleloch.

These authors suggest that models are formalisations of the relationships between things.

There are many types of models:

  •  mental models
  • graphical models
  • statistical models
  • mathematical models

A mathematical or statistical model, concerns the relationships between quantifiable things or values. Values that are actively changing are called variables, values that are less likely to change are parameters (these can mediate the effect of variables). Parameters that can’t be changed are called constants.

Hardenbergia violacea (is flowering outside at the moment)

How to model it begins with the authors posing a problem; “how long will it take you to read this book?” A length of time immediately pops into ones head. But, if you go to the trouble of really thinking about it (which the book makes you do), you might find that the time it will take may depend on a few things.

Maybe the time it takes to read the book will depend on how fast I read one page, and then on how many pages there are in the book. Maybe it will depend on the number of tasks I have to do on each page and the time it takes me to do each task (maybe how many things are in flower outside?).

If I take my mental model a bit further, I can formulate a simple equation:

T = pP + wWP

Where:

T = time taken to read the book,
p = time to read one page of the book,
P = number of pages in the book,
W = number of ‘tasks’ per page, and
w = time taken to complete each task

P,  W, and  w changes between different books and so these are variables (because they are actively changing).  p may not change as much from book to book, as everyone probably has an their own average reading time. Therefore, p is a parameter.

The authors of How to model it show that we all make (mental) models all the time.

A model is a purposeful representation of something. Models can be used for synthesising information, for estimating values of important variables, for prediction, decision-making and explanation.  One major benefit of using a formal model is that you’re forced to be explicit about your thought processes. It can be quite challenging and very revealing when you’re confronted with all your assumptions.

In my research I will be a using a type of statistical model called a hierarchical  Bayesian model.  My aim is to model plant growth and reproduction incorporating the influence of species-specific plant functional traits.

Of course, an important consideration should always be what the point of your model is.  Indeed the authors of How to model it suggest you should always ask yourself three questions:

  • What (exactly) am I doing? (I should be able to describe it precisely)
  • Why am I doing it? (How does it fit into the solution)
  • How will it help? (What will I do with the outcome once I have it)

Acacia pycnantha inflorescence

Great questions to ask oneself.  What’s the point?   Why do I want to model plant growth and reproduction?  Why don’t I just spend all my time taking photos of orchids and Acacias?   The answers to all this and more will pop up in a future post or two.

In my next blog, however, I will attempt to give an overview of the ‘hierarchical’ bit of my modelling approach.

Stay tuned…

Ref:

Starfield AM, Smith KA & Bleloch AL (1994) How to model it, problem solving for the computer age.  McGraw Hill, New York.

Thanks to W.K Morris for proof reading.

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The Wattles

Genus: Acacia
Family: Mimosaceae

This time of year (late winter into early spring) is a great time to have eyes and a nose.  One of the main reasons for this, is because it is the flowering time for many Acacias.  For those poor souls who have not been acquainted with, or have not paid much attention to this group of flowering plants, they often look like this (a bright, bright mass of yellow):

A bright mass of sweet smelling yellow

There are many species of Acacia flowering around Melbourne at the moment, and with only a little effort they are relatively straightforward to identify.  For a successful ID of Acacias you need to know something about their foliage and flowers.  A copy of ‘Native trees and shrubs of south-eastern Australia’ by Leon Costerman is also highly recommended.  This comes in a big comprehensive book covering common trees and shrubs of NSW, Vic and SA, but also a very handy smaller field guide ‘Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas’ (‘Mini Costermans’).

Underneath a bipinnate leaf. Note pinnae and pinnules.

Acacias have two broad types of foliage :

Bipinnate leaves  are ‘feathery’ and divided into pinnae. The pinnae further divided into pinnules.  All acacias have bipinnate leaves to start with.
In some species bipinnate leaves are replaced as the plant grows older by leaf like bodies called phyllodes.  Some species have broad, flat phyllodes whilst others can have spiny, needlelike or very slender phyllodes.

For ID in the field, the type of foliage (bipinnate or phyllode) is a good spotting characteristic.  After this, other foliage characteristics such as the number and placement of phyllode veins or the position and number of glands are significant characters for identification.

Different types of phyllodes

Look closely and you might see the individual flowers that make up this globular inflorescence. You can see the number of closed flower buds on the inflorescence on the right.

Individual flowers of Acacia species are tiny.  These tiny flowers are aggregated together to form an inflorescence and Acacias also have two broad inflorescence types: globular or cylindrical.

This division of inflorescence structure is also an important grouping characteristic for ID in the field.  Most Acacia species flower from late winter to early spring.  Time of flowering can be useful to distinguish between some species.

Single globular inflorescence, cylindrical spike and a raceme of globular flower heads.

An Acacia seed pod, a typical pea pod

Finally the fruiting pods are important features.  Size, shape and surface texture are important.

In mini Costermans (which you should put in your pocket before leaving the house, always) the first major groupings occur between :

– Wattles with bipinnate leaves and globular flower heads (go to page 132)
– Wattles with phyllodes and cylindrical inflorescences (go to page 135)
– Wattles with phyllodes and globular flower heads (go to page 138)

Once you have identified one of these broad groups, you can move to another section of the field guide and start looking in more detail at spotting characters such as placement of glands or veins, distribution and flowering times.  Clear drawings with detailed inserts of relevant features such as leaf glands are super helpful and make Acacia ID relatively straightforward.  So give it a go, it is surprisingly satisfying.

For example:

Acacia oxycedrus, photographed July in The Grampians

Acacia oxycedrus (photo left)

Foliage: Stiff green flat phyllodes 2-4 cm long, slightly curved, tapering to a very sharp point, 3-4 raised veins.
Flowers: (Jul-Oct) Yellow, crowded on axis in cylindrical spikes to 3 cm long.

Acacia longifolia (photo below)

Foliage: Flat  green phyllodes, spreading to erect on stiff branches, 2 (-4) main veins, gland near base.
Flowers: (Jul-Oct) Yellow, in spikes.

Acacia longifolia, photographed August at Seaford

 

 

Acacia verticillata (photo below)

Foliage: Green phyllodes mostly in whorls of about 6, often needle-like (or flattened) with sharp point, 8 – 25 mm x 1-2 (-5) cm long.
Flowers: (Jul – Oct) Bright yellow, in soft ovoid or cylindrical spikes 1 – 2 cm long.

Acacia verticillata, photographed in October near Bendigo

Refs

Costermans, L (1994) ‘Native trees and shrubs of south-eastern Australia’.  5th Ed. New Holland Publishers, Australia.

Costermans, L (2006) ‘Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas’.  6th Ed. Costermans Publishing, Australia.

(‘Mini Costermans’ = buy this).

All photos by Me!  For more Acacia love see http://www.flickr.com/photos/cracoo/sets/72157627391145521/with/7970371684/

A baby Acacia displaying both bipinnate leaves and phyllodes

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