Seed hunting in the APY Lands

Date posted: 31 August 2017

Two of the South Australian Seed Centre's expert volunteers recently travelled north to the Everard Ranges in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) to search and collect seeds and specimens of some significant plant species.

Denzel Murfet and Kieran Brewer, who have spent many years assisting the Centre since its inception nearly 15 years ago, hit the road and met with the Dodd family - the Traditional Landowners for the Sandy Bore IPA (Indigenous Protected Area) in the Everard Ranges, as well as IPA coordinator Mitch Rosewarne.

The pair spent a number of nights camped at Victory Well and Ildulkana, and even got to watch a local football match between Ildulkana and Amata.

Kieran and Denzel collected over 100 plant specimens and recorded over 1,500 images for hundreds of plant species from the region.

They are also achieved seed collections for a number of significant species including Prostanthera nudula, Ptilotus schwartzii and Sida platycalyx (see below).

They also recorded 45 bird species for the Birds Australia Atlas, including dusky grass wrens, western bowerbirds, grey-headed honeyeaters, scarlet-chested parrots, & painted finches, while they camped at Victory Well.

Some of the notable plant species of interest in the region, which are only currently known in SA from very restricted localities, include:

  • Thomson’s daisy (Cremnothamnos thomsonii), which grows on the rock faces of Indulkana Gorge.
  • Mt Connor wattle (Acacia ammobia), which is only known from a disjunct single record from the hills south of Indulkana. This wattle is better-known from the hills near Alice Springs in NT, but Kieran and Denzel recorded a number of populations in the hills around Indulkana Gorge.
  • Teddy Bears arsehole (Sida platycalyx) has rarely been recorded in SA, but was recorded near the campsite at Indulkana during the field trip.
  • Mt Ilbillie mintbush (Prostanthera nudula) is endemic the Everard Ranges region of SA and it grows in the lower rocky faces of hillslopes and gorges where it receives watershed.
  • Horse Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus schwartzii) has rarely been recorded in SA. Denzel and Kieran recorded a localised population consisting of hundreds of plants.
  • Everard Garland lily (Calostemma abdicatum) is a rare lily endemic to the Everard Ranges region, described by Peter Lang at the State Herbarium. Denzel and Kieran were able to collect specimens, as well as some fruiting bulbs, for the Botanic Gardens of South Australia's living collections.

With Denzel’s help we're now identifying the many plant specimens, cleaning and processing the numerous seed collections, and labelling & uploading the hundreds of plant species images to the Seeds of South Australia webpage.

This will take weeks of Denzel’s time, in addition to the 10 days of field work that both Kieran and Denzel provided to undertake this trip at their own expense.

The SA Seed Conservation Centre is exceedingly indebted to Kieran and Denzel for their tireless efforts and passion for plants!

These efforts will see a number of new species collections added to the SA Seed Bank, as well as information and images for many SA plant species that will be made available to the public.