Field guide for South Australian outback plants released

An eagerly awaited handbook for identifying and understanding South Australia’s incredibly vast outback flora has been launched by the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium (BGSH) this week.

The Field Guide to the Plants of Outback South Australia – a new and updated second edition – includes descriptions of 356 outback plants, with full colour photos, habitat information, Aboriginal plant names, distribution maps and more.

The book serves as a key hand guide for plant enthusiasts and the perfect companion for exploring regional South Australia.

It has been developed by Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium staff in partnership with the Pastoral Unit of the Department for Environment and Water.

Deputy Premier Susan Close said the new book just scratches the surface on the incredible scientific work of the State Herbarium.

“We have some of the best scientific minds in the state working in the State Herbarium and its inspiring to see such a dedicated team putting their technical skills and knowledge toward recording our state’s flora.”

BGSH Chief Botanist Michelle Waycott said the first edition of the field guide had sold out, while natural taxonomical changes meant that an updated second edition was necessary.

“This edition provides revised names for many species, a fact of life in the taxonomical world, where, as we learn more about global biodiversity, we need to update names to maintain their accuracy and therefore relevance,” she said.

“The wonderful thing about this field guide is that you can learn to recognise our outback plants through a classification which associates plant names with descriptions, the type of plant – be it tree, grass or shrub – habitats, and where they grow.”

The book is available here via Openbook Howden’s online bookstore and will be provided to book retailers around South Australia.

The book is authored by Frank Kutsche and Brendan Lay, while the second edition was updated by Tim Croft and Jürgen Kellerman. It is available at a retail price of $44.

Copies of the book will also be available for purchase at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium administration desk inside the Goodman Building at Adelaide Botanic Garden, off Hackney Road.

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