Botany student proves 'New England Banksia' a distinct species

Aug 28, 2012
This is the new species, Banksia neoanglica. Credit: Margaret L. Stimpson et al

The New England Banksia is largely restricted to the eastern edge of the New England Tableland, and is common in places along Waterfall Way. Ms Stimpson's research has raised this flowering plant, until now classified as a variety of the Hairpin Banksia (B. spinulosa), to the taxonomic level of a distinct species. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

"I love the Proteaceae – the family of that includes the Banksia and Grevillea genera in Australia and Protea in South Africa," Ms Stimpson said. "Surprisingly, in recent years has shown the family's closest relatives are the Sacred Lotus and the plane trees. of Banksia survive in poor soil and still manage to produce marvellous flowers."

Margaret Stimpson wrote the paper in collaboration with Ian Telford, the Curator of the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium at the University of New England, Professor Jeremy Bruhl, the Director of the herbarium, and Dr Peter Weston, Senior Principal Research Scientist at the National Herbarium of NSW, an international specialist in Proteaceae systematics.

This is a flower of the new scpecies, Banksia neoanglica. Credit: Margaret L. Stimpson et al.

Margaret's first project as an undergraduate student of botany at UNE was on the Proteaceae, and she's been collecting specimens ever since. Now working towards enrolling in a doctoral degree program, she said: "There are still species of Banksia out there that merit description, and I hope to test these in a PhD project."

Margaret established the species rank of the New England Banksia by detailed studies of its leaves, flowers, stem and fruit, and considerations of its ecology and distribution. She explained that it has two growth forms, the more common being a multi-stemmed small shrub with many flowers but few seeds. This form occurs where there has been regular burning, and the seeds need exposure to fire to open. The less common form, found where burning has not occurred, is a single-stemmed tree with many flowers and many seeds that open spontaneously without exposure to fire.

Explore further: Blue tits: Bad news for kids – parents do not defend their offspring at all cost

More information: Stimpson ML, Weston PH, Telford IRH, Bruhl JJ (2012) First instalment in resolution of the Banksia spinulosa complex (Proteaceae): B. neoanglica, a new species supported by phenetic analysis, ecology and geography. PhytoKeys 14: 57-80. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.14.3415

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DNA solves identities of Australian melons and loofah

Jul 27, 2011

Molecular data have shown that three Australian Cucurbitaceae species initially collected in 1856 but never accepted as separate species are distinct from each other and that one of them is the closest relati ...

Pollinators can drive evolution of flower traits: study

Oct 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Pretty flowers aren't produced so we can show them off in vases -- they serve the purpose of attracting such pollinators as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, which enable them to produce ...

'Different forms of flowers' continues to fascinate

Apr 29, 2010

Although Charles Darwin is most well-known both for his book "On the Origin of Species" and his theories on natural selection, he once stated, "I do not think anything in my scientific life has given me so much satisfaction ...

Recommended for you

Scanning robot helps put insect collection online

8 hours ago

A robot capable of scanning a tray of insect specimens in a few minutes will help make the virtual images and tagging information available to the public online, according to South Dakota State University ...

New mushroom discovered on campus is the first since 1985

8 hours ago

Two researchers who recently named the first new species of mushroom from the UC Berkeley campus in more than 30 years are emphasizing the need for continued green and open space on campus, as well as a full-fledged ...

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

Nov 21, 2014

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.