- Evolutionary ecology research
- Horticultural research
- Plant diversity research
- Amalie Dietrich project
- Australian freshwater algae
- Australian mesic zone biota
- Cycad evolution and diversity
- Fern biodiversity of Australia
- Fern and gymnosperm research
- Lamiaceae & Loganiaceae
- Lamiaceae & Urticaceae
- Marine algae
- Myrtaceae - Biology
- Orchidaceae tribe Diurideae - phylogeny
- Orchids - DNA of ground orchids
- Pertusaria - key
- Phylogenetic biome conservatism
- Poales restiid clade
- Podocarpus elatus - Quaternary climate change
- Prostanthera - pollination studies
- Proteaceae - evolution
- Restionaceae - DNA studies
- Restionaceae - new species and phylogeny
- Rutaceae - Flora of Australia
- She-oaks - tough survivors
- Trees of Papua New Guinea
- Tristaniopsis in south-east Asia
- Urticaceae of Java
- Utricularia- phylogeny and new species
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- Scientific publications
New Species and phylogeny in Restionaceae
Restionaceae is an almost exclusively southern Hemisphere plant family, with centres of diversity in the south of Western Australia and in South Africa. Mostly these sedge-like plants grow in seasonally wet habitats, although some are found in semi-arid regions. All occur in areas of low soil fertility. The great majority are dioecious, with separate male and female plants, and they are wind-pollinated, with small flowers. As part of a long-term study, we have investigated the Australian species and their morphology and used DNA data to investigate their relationships. Twenty-two named species are native to New South Wales, including four species that are being newly described as a result of this study.
Continuing the project to describe the Australian species, the features and distributions have been clarified for a further thirteen species. Descriptions of nine new species of Lepyrodia, one of Sporadanthus and three of Lepidobolus have been submitted for publication in our journal Telopea. One of the publications is jointly authored by Dr Kingsley Dixon of Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth.
The detailed structure of seed surfaces has been important in distinguishing the new species, since some species are very similar but have very different seeds. They were studied by Carolyn Connelly using scanning electron microscopy. Carolyn also first recognised the distinctiveness of one of the Lepyrodia species and it will be named after her.
Chloroplast DNA data obtained by Dr Adam Marchant have shown that the current classification of several genera of Restionaceae does not appropriately reflect their relationships. Some future changes in classification will therefore be necessary.
Adam is continuing to develop more comprehensive DNA data for Australian species while Barbara is investigating species distinctions in several genera and preparing descriptions of a further nine new species of Leptocarpus. Further studies of Restionaceae seeds are also planned.