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Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Australian Journal of Botany

Australian Journal of Botany

Australian Journal of Botany is an international journal for publication of original research in plant science. The journal publishes in the areas of ecology and ecophysiology; invasive biology; conservation biology and biodiversity; forest biology and management; cell and molecular biology; palaeobotany and biogeography; reproductive biology and genetics; mycology and pathology; structure and development; and aquatic botany. Read more about the journalMore

Editors-in-Chief: John Morgan and Mark Ooi

Publishing Model: Hybrid. Open Access options available.

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These articles are the latest published in the journal. Australian Journal of Botany has moved to a continuous publication model. More information is available on our Continuous Publication page.

Heathy woodland in the Otway Ranges, showing austral grasstrees affected by Phytophtora cinnamomi.

The plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi causes severe declines in Australian native vegetation. The iconic Australian grasstrees, which provide prime habitat for many vertebrates and invertebrates, are highly susceptible to the pathogen. This study found significant declines in susceptible species following infestation, particularly the austral grasstree, which had 50% less cover. These results have severe implications for heathy woodland communities and reliant fauna. Limiting the spread of P. cinnamomi and protecting grasstrees is critical for their security. Photograph by B. Wilson.

Published online 26 February 2024

BT23053Unusual, human-mediated prevalence of epiphytes in semi-arid New South Wales, Australia

J. L. Silcock 0000-0001-7503-748X, J. Pye, A. Tighe, P. Reid-Loynes, R. Ashby and R. J. Fairfax

Examples of epiphytes documented on the Barwon River palaeochannels, north-western New South Wales.

Epiphytes are typically associated with wet forests. We document an unusual concentration of epiphytes, typically associated with wet forests, from a eucalypt woodland in semi-arid New South Wales: 712 woody epiphytes were located, comprising 21 typically terrestrial species. Epiphytes were strongly associated with anthropogenically modified trees, and are likely to be widespread but overlooked components of some dryland ecosystems, particularly those with large trees with a history of anthropogenic modification and high species diversity. Photographs by Jane Pye.

Photograph of long-unburnt snow gum growing in Victorian Alps.

We identify the extent and location of long-unburnt snow gum in Victoria, and make recommendations for the conservation management of such stands. Photograph by John Morgan.

A photograph of sclerophyll–rainforest vegetation complex in the Nightcap Range, North Coast NSW, one year after fire.

This study examined how floristically diverse components of wet sclerophyll forest and adjoining dry sclerophyll communities in the Nightcap Range, North Coast, New South Wales, responded to fire. Functional and phytogeographical clades composing the flora displayed distinctive patterns of resprouting and seedling-recruitment fire response. Predominant fire responses (OSR, FR and OR) in phytogeographic clades in WSRf were: Gondwanan-rainforest (OR), immigrant-rainforest (OSR) and autochthonous-sclerophyll components (OSR and FR), with exceptions. The species complex in intergrading rainforest and sclerophyll vegetation appears to maintain diversity and stability by different species fire-response syndromes. Photograph by A. Benwell.

Published online 10 January 2024

BT23062Phenotypic and genotypic variation in Australian native Sorghum species along aridity clines

Harry Myrans 0000-0003-2690-6188, Jack R. McCausland, Scott N. Johnson and Roslyn M. Gleadow

Accessions of three wild sorghum species collected in Australia.

Wild Sorghum species dominate parts of northern Australia and contain potentially useful traits for crop improvement, but the diversity within these species has not been sufficiently examined. We assessed phenotypic and genotypic diversity of three Sorghum species and found unexpected complexity in the relationships among the environment, genotype and phenotype. Our results challenge assumptions that diversity levels can be assumed from phenotype or environment alone, with implications for conservation and crop improvement. Photograph by Jack McCausland.

Published online 02 January 2024

BT23064Cell wall epitope distribution in the functional compartments of galls induced by Palaeomystella oligophaga (Lepidoptera) in Macairea radula (Melastomataceae)

Patrícia Dias Santos, Gracielle Pereira Pimenta Bragança, Vinícius Coelho Kuster 0000-0002-1236-486X, Diego Ismael Rocha 0000-0001-6683-0961 and Denis Coelho de Oliveira 0000-0002-6386-918X

Galls induced by Palaeomystella oligophaga in Macairea radula, at various stages of development.

Insects can live inside plant galls, and the composition of the gall cell walls plays an important role in its structure and function. Herein, the cell walls of Macairea radula galls changed throughout the developmental stages of P. oligophaga and between storage and nutritive tissues. Cell wall epitopes in the storage tissue gave it a good balance between rigidity and flexibility, and xyloglucans in the nutritive tissue seem to be important for the insect’s diet in the larval stage. Image by Patrícia Dias Santos.

Published online 14 December 2023

BT23028From mallees to mountain ash, specific leaf area is coordinated with eucalypt tree stature, resprouting, stem construction, and fruit size

Antoinette M. Portelli 0000-0002-3876-5530, Saras M. Windecker 0000-0002-4870-8353, Laura J. Pollock 0000-0002-6004-4027, Will C. Neal, William K. Morris 0000-0002-8686-4154, Rohan Khot and Peter A. Vesk 0000-0003-2008-7062

Trait network diagram of phylogenetic correlations among 164 southern Australian eucalypts.

We studied correlation patterns among leaf, stem, stature and regeneration traits in 164 eucalypt taxa from southern Australia. Stem and habit were independent of reproductive traits and leaf traits were coordinated with most other traits. Post-fire regeneration behaviour was also coordinated with many traits. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that most of these patterns evolved repeatedly throughout the eucalypt radiation. Image by Antoinette Portelli.

Published online 07 December 2023

BT23070The extent and applications of metal accumulation and hyperaccumulation in Philippine plants

Sarah Duddigan 0000-0002-6228-4462, Marilyn O. Quimado, Edwino S. Fernando and Mark Tibbett 0000-0003-0143-2190

Photograph of a native metal-accumulating plant in the Philippines.

Soils of the Philippines often have high concentrations of heavy metals and low nutrient concentrations, which are conditions that are normally unfavourable for plant growth. However, many plants in the area have adapted to these conditions and can grow well. Here we have compiled data currently available on Philippine plants that can accumulate metals in their tissue, and the potential applications of these plants in restoration efforts. Photograph by Edwino S. Fernando.

Published online 02 December 2023

BT23047Collateral damage: epiphytic orchids at risk from myrtle rust

Heidi Zimmer 0000-0002-8496-7360, Mark Clements, Endymion Cooper, David Jones, Robert Makinson, Katharina Nargar and Kristy Stevenson

An epiphytic orchid attached to the trunk of a tree killed by repeated myrtle rust infection.

Myrtle rust is a pathogen that threatens the family that forms the core of many Australian ecosystems: the Myrtaceae. Worse still, death and decline of myrtaceous species could have knock-on effects for the species that rely on them. We identified 73 species of epiphytic orchid that are commonly found growing on myrtaceous hosts – and hence are at risk from the impacts of myrtle rust. The impact of myrtle rust in Australia is likely to be broader than on myrtaceous species alone. Photograph by Kristy Stevenson.

Published online 30 November 2023

BT23013Species distribution modelling and climatic niche as tools to aid in the integrative taxonomy of a South American species complex in Chromolaena (Asteraceae, Eupatorieae)

Anderson Luiz Christ 0000-0002-1876-5728, Marcelo Reginato, Jimi Naoki Nakajima and Mara Rejane Ritter

Representative of South American Chromolaena congesta species complex.

Identifying patterns of geographical distribution of species can be an extraordinary tool to understand not only their biology, but also their own identity. With that in mind, we combined climatic data from south-eastern South America with information on the distribution of a group of species of difficult delimitationin an attempt to aid in their identification. Our results corroborated with findings from studies with different lines of evidence and indicated that geographical distribution is indeed invaluable to plant identification and classification. Photograph by Anderson Christ.

Published online 25 November 2023

BT22051Variations in functional traits and resilience of Inga vera subsp. affinis under flooding and drought conditions

Rosana Müller Padilha Feitosa 0000-0001-5578-7443, Louizi de Souza Magalhães Braghin 0000-0002-8231-3830, Lindamir Hernandez Pastorini 0000-0003-4679-4718 and Mariza Barion Romagnolo 0000-0002-7529-3624

Photograph of a seedling of a tropical riparian tree, Inga vera subsp. affinis.

The study of the ecology of native species in tropical environments offers a range of information about the development of forests, including more specific characteristics such as variations that can occur within a single species. Trees are very well adapted to this type of environmental variation such as flooding, but species can show very resilient responses and development to times of drought in these environments, even at young ages, demonstrating the importance of preservation and management of tropical native forests. Photograph by Rosana Feitosa.

Published online 24 November 2023

BT23029Seed biology can inform conservation actions: a case study on Geijera parviflora

Ganesha S. Liyanage 0000-0001-8401-698X, Amy-Marie Gilpin, Catherine A. Offord and Amelia J. Martyn Yenson

Photograph of flowering Geijera parviflora.

This study investigated seed biology and reproduction in the Geijera parviflora to inform conservation actions. Geijera parviflora is a species suitable for ecological restoration and ornamental horticulture, but has largely been overlooked because of issues with unreliable information on its seed biology and reproduction. The results of this study addressed several issues leading to poor seed germination and shed light on the previously unknown seed- storage behaviour of G. parviflora in both in situ and ex situ conditions. Photograph by Ganesha Liyanage.

Published online 06 November 2023

BT23039Climate change or tree disease: challenges for diagnosing causes of forest die-off

George Matusick 0000-0003-3198-4113, Katinka X. Ruthrof, Peter Scott and Giles E. S. J. Hardy

An aerial photograph of canopy die-off in the Northern Jarrah Forest of south-western Australia in 2011.

Climate change is causing novel forest disturbances that can mimic patterns created by historic disturbance agents. Following a heatwave-compounded drought event in south-western Australia, forest and tree die-off mimicked those caused by the exotic invasive root pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi. Our findings confirmed that the observed die-off was indeed caused by the extreme climate and not by P. cinnamomi. Photograph by George Matusick.

Published online 02 November 2023

BT23075Seed science in Australasia: regionally important, globally relevant

Lydia K. Guja 0000-0001-5945-438X, Mark K. J. Ooi 0000-0002-3046-0417, Sally L. Norton, Damian Wrigley, Bradley Desmond and Catherine A. Offord

Seed science is fundamental for addressing global challenges including biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, sustainable development and restoration. This paper highlights current and emerging directions in seed science and conservation, summarises the Australasian Seed Science Conference 2021, and introduces this Special Issue of the Australian Journal of Botany.

A photograph of Cladonia lichen growing on soil.

Chemical and isotopic analyses of lead in lichen and fungal herbarium collections were used to reconstruct patterns of deposition over a period of 150 years in eastern Australia. The central role of herbaria in two case studies of temporal changes in atmospheric lead pollution is discussed and used to address future collection management challenges. Photograph by Dr Xinyu Wang.

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Best Student Paper

The Best Student Paper published in 2022 has been awarded to Brendan Janissen.