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Collectors return from the Great Victoria Desert

New collections from South Australia

Wyola mallee woodland (Eucalyptus wyolensis) on red sands with Triodia basedowia
Photo: Dan Duval, SASCC

Swainsona unifoliata growing on gypseous soils at Waldanna Well
Photo: Dan Duval, SASCC

The Botanic Gardens of South Australia team (SA Seed Conservation Centre) recently returned from 12-days field work in Mamungari Conservation Park, which occurs within Maralinga Tjarutja Lands, adjacent the Western Australia-South Australia border. This unique area lies within the Great Victoria Desert bioregion and contains many endemic species unique to the region. The bioregion includes mallee woodlands on red sand plains, mulga woodlands, red sand dune systems and salt lake systems such as the Serpentine Lakes. Some of the endemic eucalypt species collected during field work in the region include the Wyola mallee (Eucalyptus wyolensis), the Ooldea Range mallee (Eucalyptus canescens ssp. canescens) and the Vokes Hill mallee (Eucalyptus vokesnsis).


Swainsona unifoliata growing on gypseous soils at
Waldanna Well
Photo: Dan Duval, SASCC

          Eremophila undulata growing on red sands in open mallee woodland. This is the first record of this Eremophila species in South Australia
Photo: Dan Duval, SASCC

Other interesting flora in the region includes the desert kurrajong (Brachychiton gregorii), marble gum (Eucalyptus gonglyocarpa), and the rare wing-fruited mallee (Eucalytpus alatissima). A number of rare species were recorded, some of these only known from a single or few historic records. Some of the most interesting finds were Swainsona kingii, and the rare gypsophile Swainsona unifoiata, which was recorded at Waldanna Well. The field work achieved more than 40 seeds collections for the SA Seed Bank and a few hundred herbarium collections were undertaken for the state herbarium. The interim processing of collections this week has already identified a number of species seed collections for plant species not previously recorded in South Australia, including Eremophila undulata, Ptilotus chamaecladus and Sclerolaena erotioides.