View Full Version : Catalogue your flora.
02-03-2007, 09:22 AM
Just sharing a PM I recieved here.
Tropicalrose is in the process of making a catalogue of the flora on her new property.
Firstly, I had never thought to do this and secondly - what a fabulous idea!!! I think is an important exercise for anyone buying acreage, even if the place has been farmed and developed it will act as a historical snapshot for sometime in the future.
Now I intend to do this for my property does anyone have any experience doing this type of thing. I feel confident in respect to the tree species but not so sure when it comes to grasses, herbs, orchids, lillies and fungi etc
02-03-2007, 12:22 PM
G'day floot :)
Yes, "...making a catalogue of the flora" on your property is an excellent idea. Botanists and other 'plant people' call it a 'botanical survey'. The process is simple enough: Plot your land, walk it, and observe and note the position of all plants species. As you suggest it's easiest to start with the big stuff, like trees, and just work your way down from there. When you come across something that you can't identify, note its position on your plot (map/diagram of your property) and take a photo of it. This way you can come back later with a field guide and identify it.
It takes years of practice to become a skilled botanical surveyor, or at least someone who can do the job efficiently. But that is no reason why we all can't give it a go, especially on our own property. Use the tools that you have access to: Google Earth; maps/plans/schemetics of your property; local knowledge; libraries, and a million online resources.
Luckily, I've got a mate who's a botanist. If you can find one of these beautiful people, make friends with them :).
Good luck with it. The benefits of knowing exactly what is growing on your site are huge. Remember Holmgren's first principle: Observe and interact.
Cheerio, and happy surveying, Mark.
02-03-2007, 09:01 PM
Floot, John Brock's Native Plants of Northern Australia is a big help. I'm dreading doing the trees actually. So many different types and they're not all in Brock and I'm not real up to date on native trees. I'm really enjoying doing it though and it is expanding my knowledge. I've already found a plant you can make arrowroot out of and an ipomoea species you can eat. Several of them I have identified are not supposed to occur in my area either. We also have billy goat (Kakadu) plum so I'll be able to stop buying vit C soon. :D
Mark thanks for the idea of plotting the land, I hadn't thought of that.
03-03-2007, 08:58 AM
Hi Tropicalrose and Floot.
A full survey usually takes a full year because lots of plants and grasses (in particular) need to be in flower for you to id. them.
You need all the seasons because the orchids and little herbacious plants are often only recognisable at certain times of the year.
Photos may get you down to the Species but not the Genus; an expert uses a hand lens and often a microscope to get the job done. So it depends on how precise you want to be.
I don't know about NT, but in NSW if you are having trouble identifing a plant: you dry it in a flower press or in the middle of the phone book and then send it off to the Botanical Gardens Herberium section and they will look at it for free (so long as your not sending in loads of specimens).
They will need to have a flower and to for you to describe the height and width; and what type of root system it has; what type os soil; position on the landscape (ie riparian, escarpment,pasture...) and if it is a one off plants or if there are heaps of them in the area.
I have been working my way thru 1/3 acre of Zone V on my block for the last three years and still finding new plants
Have fun who knows you might find a new species.
03-03-2007, 10:26 AM
I have a fairly comprehensive list of the plants on our block, but we cheated we have our block listed as "Land for Wildlife" they came out and did a list for us we are going to go over the block again to see what new plants have sprung up since the rain. Having a list is good if you want to plant more of the same grasses/trees.
03-03-2007, 01:20 PM
Now there's a few more ideas to try. :D
Floot seeing we are in similar locations, do you want to share results? I am mainly interested in natives at the moment.
03-03-2007, 01:56 PM
I certainly want to share results. I can see it being an evolving process though. As I said, only just starting to get my head round it but there is hope.
Up until 5 years ago the only latin names I knew were Julius Caeser and Pontius Pilate.... :shock: :D :D
03-03-2007, 02:11 PM
Floot :lol: :lol:
Its a learning curve alright. Something to do on these wet days for me. I am doing it in excel and getting the latin names from John Brock.
Did that tropical low affect you much?
05-03-2007, 04:11 PM
I paid a certified bush regen guy $220 in Feb 2006 to do a flora survey of my 10 acres in the week prior to me having my swales installed.
I wanted to see how the swales might impact the vegetation on my land.
I hadnt counted on the drought, where I barely got any rain at all in 12 months. The drought meant nothing grew on the swales and all but hardy weeds and indigineous vegetation died.
This week, with rain finally falling, I have seen lots of plant growth.
I have also found a large bearded dragon, a tortoise, a red-belly snake (actually snakie and I have made each other's acquaintance a few times this year, we have a healthy respect for each other's personal space and I think I have also convinced the dog she does not want to get up close and personal with snakie either). I also found a frog-mouth owl.
I have had a great deal of success hand-weeding all the privet, lantana and fireweed out of the property and have also made an impact in removing bidens pilosa (farmer's pegs). My current campaign is moth vine and mother of millions.
Some weeds I leave - like stinking roger, aramanth, mallows, fat hen, deadly night shade and flea bane. If they get to be too big a problem I will attack them too.
Hopefully, if they are right about El Nino being over for a time, I will have something approaching "normal" rainfall and will begin to see the swales have some impact on my property, with vegetation changing to more green manures and other beneficial plants.
05-03-2007, 06:13 PM
Wow, great about the rainfall and wildlife. We apparently have death adders in our area but luckily I have never made the acquaintance of one. I believe they are lazy and won't move out of the way if you hear them coming and you can tread on them with the expected results.
I have identified 3 noxious weeds, gamba grass and mission grass on my block, both originally introduced as stock feed but went feral and caused all sorts of problems. I have also found mimosa so its a pretty good thing to know what's on your land I think.
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