Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Comment Worth Repeating

Ian Menkins of Oakey added a comment to my blog of a few weeks ago, on the subject of Hawkweed Picris evae:
Picris barbarorum is another rare species on the Darling Downs. It tends to be found further west on the plains, rather than on the eastern foothills where P. evae is more likely to be found. P. barbarorum does not have a woolly coma like P. evae. Instead there are bristly hairs in neat vertical lines. P. barbarorum is extinct in Victoria, the only record being from an Aboriginal woman's dilly bag in early Colonial times. I am not sure of its status in NSW. It can be quite common here on the grasslands of the Darling Downs, particularly when rains have followed a very long dry spell. But it can then become very scarse for decades. In the garden it performs very much like P. evae and comes up reliably from seed each year. The plant has similar growth habit and flowers to P. evae. on Hawkweed”
Thanks for the interesting comment, Ian. I have never seen P. barbarorum. I think it would be easy to overlook, as Picris plants are not particularly conspicuous among the general vegetation when not flowering or in seed.
 A photo of it can be found at
Conservation of rare plants like these, with no particular garden-appeal, depends heavily on the preservation of natural areas, by private landowners or in government-managed reserves. This is only likely to become more difficult with time, a good reason for us all to support whatever conservation efforts are in existence, and to remind all three levels of government, from time to time, that we do care about environmental matters.


grey_gum said...

Hi Trish, Another species, Picris burbidgei, was found by a friend down near Killarney recently. It is also very rare but not listed as such in Queensland, because it was historically confused with other species. It differs in having rather small flowers and lots of very leafy sepals. It has a mainly western Pacific distribution on extinct volcanic areas, with records in New Zealand and on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. In Australia it is restricted to the Main Range, Lamington and Mt Warning shield volcanics of eastern Australia. It is interesting that apparently the same taxon is spelt P. burbideae in New Zealand. An ecologist told me that burbidgei is listed on the Australian Plant Name Index "only as an orthographic variant" of P. burbidgeae. So the correct spelling must be P. burbidgeae.

Patricia Gardner said...

It's outside of enough, isn't it, when we have spelling variations as well as all the differences of opinion about names, and whether all deserve to be separate species or not.
It is interesting to hear of P. burbidgeae being found in Queensland. There must be very few people indeed who would be capable of noticing that it was a plant of interest.