04 August, 2023

Norfolk Island vascular plant curation

Decided to do some clean-up work for iNat obs of vascular plants for Norfolk Island.

First important thing to note here is that, within iNat, Norfolk does not count as part of Australia (place ID = 6744), but rather is its own separate entity (place ID = 7333). One consequence of this is that non-native species that have already been marked as introduced for Australia have to be marked again for Norfolk, so this is one task I'll be doing.

Second task is marking clearly planted/cultivated plants as such.

Third is to try ID observations to species where possible. I'm only noting ones where a 'new' species is added to the island inventory due to my ID (so IDing the 10th observation of a species with 9 observations already is irrelevant here).


Marked as introduced

  1. Rubus grabowskii
  2. Megathyrsus maximus
  3. Rumex hypogaeus
  4. Verbena incompta
  5. Chenopodiastrum murale
  6. Cyperus brevifolius
  7. Geranium gardneri
  8. Cheilanthes viridis
  9. Gladiolus dalenii
  10. Macadamia tetraphylla
  11. Citrus × taitensis (tentative, may be cultivated)
  12. Lycium ferocissimum
  13. Pelargonium × hybridum
  14. Kalanchoe pinnata
  15. Hypoestes phyllostachya
  16. Lepidium bonariense
  17. Hydrocleys nymphoides
  18. Gamochaeta americana
  19. Musa acuminata
  20. Howea forsteriana
  21. Phlebodium aureum
  22. Alpinia zerumbet
  23. Setaria parviflora
  24. Stenotaphrum secundatum
  25. Petroselinum crispum
  26. Modiola caroliniana
  27. Juncus articulatus
  28. Gamochaeta calviceps
  29. Eriobotrya japonica
  30. Erigeron karvinskianus
  31. Gazania rigens
  32. Saccharum
  33. Verbascum virgatum
  34. Arundo donax
  35. Mentha spicata
  36. Ammophila arenaria
  37. Polycarpon tetraphyllum
  38. Orobanche minor
  39. Bromus catharticus
  40. Capsella bursa-pastoris
  41. Papaver rhoeas
  42. Hypochaeris radicata
  43. Trifolium pratense
  44. Senna septemtrionalis
  45. Prunus persica
  46. Nerium oleander
  47. Yucca aloifolia
  48. Ranunculus muricatus
  49. Paspalum mandiocanum
  50. Bidens alba
  51. Hakea salicifolia
  52. Cyperus alternifolius
  53. Dipogon lignosus
  54. Phyllanthus tenellus
  55. Furcraea foetida
  56. Verbena bonariensis
  57. Asparagus setaceus
  58. Verbena litoralis
  59. Coffea arabica
  60. Agave americana
  61. Egeria densa
  62. Vicia hirsuta
  63. Datura stramonium
  64. Melia azedarach
  65. Foeniculum vulgare
  66. Nephrolepis cordifolia
  67. Potentilla indica
  68. Azolla pinnata
  69. Sigesbeckia orientalis
  70. Abutilon grandifolium
  71. Rivina humilis
  72. Canna indica
  73. Metrosideros kermadecensis
  74. Petunia axillaris
  75. Argemone subfusiformis
  76. Salvinia molesta
  77. Frankenia pulverulenta
  78. Cyrtomium falcatum
  79. Portulaca oleracea
  80. Euphorbia prostrata
  81. Desmodium incanum
  82. Salvia coccinea
  83. Oenothera rosea
  84. Sporobolus africanus
  85. Erigeron bonariensis
  86. Lotus angustissimus
  87. Ludwigia peploides
  88. Cyperus polystachyos
  89. Facelis retusa
  90. Eleusine indica
  91. Dimorphotheca ecklonis
  92. Juncus pallidus

Taxa 'removed' due to marking as captive/cultivated'

  1. Selenicereus megalanthus
  2. Grevillea robusta
  3. Punica granatum
  4. Acacia (also updated ID to A. spirorbis)
  5. Ficus macrophylla

'New' species via IDs

  1. Updated the single Rubus observation to R. grabowskii. Doesn't actually increase the species (leaf) count, but good to get it to species
  2. Updated Alpinia sp. to Alpinia zerumbet. Ditto Rubus re species count
  3. Updated Senna sp. to Senna septemtrionalis. Ditto species count
  4. Updated Prunus sp. to Prunus persica. Ditto
  5. Updated Yucca sp. Yucca aloifolia. Ditto
  6. Updated Ranunculus sp. to Ranunculus muricatus. Ditto
  7. Updated Erigeron to Erigeron bonariensis
  8. Updated Faboideae to Lotus angustissimus
  9. Updated Onagraceae to Ludwigia peploides
  10. Updated Cyperus to Cyperus polystachyos
  11. Updated Asteraceae to Facelis retusa

'Removed' species via IDs

  1. Carex dissita --> corrected ID, actually Carex neesiana (which used to be a var. of dissita)
  2. Vicia tetrasperma --> misidentification of V. hirsuta
  3. Geranium homeanum --> corrected ID, fairly sure actually G. gardneri
  4. Lonicera japonica --> downgraded to 'Dicots', unsure what it is (but pretty sure not Lonicera)
  5. Ammophila arenaria --> Spinifex sericeus instead


  1. Eustachys sp. pending naturalised confirmation
  2. Passiflora pallida pending discussion
  3. Gloriosa superba pending naturalised confirmation
  4. Dovyalis caffra pending naturalised confirmation
  5. Agapanthus praecox pending naturalised confirmation
  6. Parochetus sp. pending naturalised confirmation
Posted on 04 August, 2023 08:59 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 1 comment | Leave a comment

25 July, 2023

Guide to non-yellow flowering Oxalis in Australia

Oxalis is a large cosmopolitan genus (currently 566 accepted species in Plants of the World Online) of mostly small herbs. It's represented in Australia by 32 recorded species, most of which (24) are non-native:

Oxalis chnoodes
Oxalis exilis
Oxalis magellanica
Oxalis perennans
Oxalis radicosa
Oxalis rubens
Oxalis sp. Pilbara (M.E. Trudgen 12725)
Oxalis thompsoniae

Oxalis articulata
Oxalis barrelieri
Oxalis bifurca
Oxalis bowiei
Oxalis brasiliensis
Oxalis caprina
Oxalis compressa
Oxalis corniculata
Oxalis debilis
Oxalis depressa
Oxalis dillenii
Oxalis flava
Oxalis glabra
Oxalis hirta
Oxalis incarnata
Oxalis latifolia
Oxalis laxa
Oxalis micrantha
Oxalis obtusa
Oxalis perdicaria
Oxalis pes-caprae
Oxalis polyphylla
Oxalis purpurea
Oxalis violacea

(note there is also another entity, Oxalis vallicola, which is treated as separate/valid by VicFlora, but synonymised under O. latifolia everywhere else. It is separated from latifolia in the VicFlora key as: bulbils produced from old bulbs on stolons = latifolia, bulbils sessile on old bulbs = vallicola)

Many of these species, including 7 of the 8 natives, look very similar: yellow flowers and relatively small leaflets. It can often be tricky to differentiate these species, especially from photos which often lack important diagnostic characters such as hair types, stipules or fruits/seeds (which are often not present). For the most part, however, the other species, which include pink, purple, orange and white flowers, are relatively easy to identify. This photographic guide should make it easy to identify these species when they're in flower, although I also point out other useful traits too relating to leaves and below ground structures (if relevant). There are of course many other relevant characters, but I have tried to keep each entry relatively simple; more extensive descriptions for each species can be accessed in online floras. I have mostly used photos from Australian observations, except for a few species which are yet to be observed in Australia on iNaturalist, or species for which the few photos I needed were under all rights reserved copyright licenses.

Note that this guide is most useful when observing flowering specimens. For some of the species treated here, however, the leaves are highly distinct and are the most obvious diagnostic character once you have established the genus as Oxalis. Overall, as for any plant group, taking into consideration the combination of all characters for any given species will provide the most accurate identifications.

Native species
Oxalis magellanica
Distribution in Australia: Victoria (rare, Otway Range, Central Highlands between Lake Mountain and Baw Baw Plateau, and Errinundra Plateau only), Tasmania. Also New Zealand and South America.
Flowers: petals white, pale green throat (A).
Leaves: leaflets love heart-shaped with a distinct notch at the apex. Noticeable 'fold' down the centre dividing each leaflet into two lobes, Leaflets usually very small, barely exceeding 10 mm maximum length (usually smaller) (B).
General: a small species, usually up to ~10 cm max height (C). Very distinct, difficult to confuse with anything else.

A and C - @annabelc; B - @sheriff_woody_pct

Non-native species
Oxalis articulata
Distribution in Australia: broadly distributed across southeastern Australia from Brisbane to Adelaide, including Tasmania. As far inland as around Temora in NSW, plus a few rare records along the Vic/NSW border.
Flowers: petals usually broadly rectangular- or wedge-shaped (helps to differentiate from some of the other pink-flowering Oxalis, which have round petals), pale pink through to a rich pink-purple with distinct dark striations extending upwards from the throat. Almost always with a distinct dark-purple flush encircling the throat
Leaves: leaflets love heart-shaped with a distinct notch at the apex.
General: This species is very similar to Oxalis brasiliensis. Compared to O. brasiliensis, O. articulata:

  • petals seems to more consistently be more elongate rectangular (A), compared to brasiliensis which often seems to have squatter, more wedge-shaped petals (although both petal types are present in both species)
  • leaflets seem to more consistently be a little longer than wide or roughly as long as wide (B), compared to brasiliensis where the leaflets seem to more consistently be a little wider than they are long.
  • the notches at the leaflet apices are typically deeper/more prominent in O. articulata.
  • has a woody rhizome (C) instead of bulbs + bulbils.

A and C - @nomennudum; B - @silversea_starsong

Oxalis barrelieri (no Australian iNaturalist observations at time of writing)
Distribution in Australia: Christmas Island.
Flowers: petals small, white or sometimes pale pink-purple, throat rich yellow (A).
Leaves: leaflets oval-shaped, central leaflet larger than the others (B).
General: usually erect growth habit, can reach up to 1.5 m tall (C). Highly unmistakeable and unlike any other Oxalis in Australia.

A - @deniszabin ; B - @pseudoshuigeeee ; C - @takashi_nishiki

Oxalis bifurca (no Australian iNaturalist observations at time of writing)
Distribution in Australia: Victoria (although probably now extinct, only known from three 1925 records in Little River Railway Reserve between Melbourne and Geelong), NSW (records only from Campbelltown) and South Australia (also possibly extinct, four records all from the 1960s, near Adelaide and Gawler).
Flowers: petal colour variable, including stark white (A), very pale pink, hot pink or (rarely) coral, throat yellow-green.
Leaves: each leaflet divided into two distinct, (usually) narrow lobes.
General: another unmistakeable species in comparison to other Australian Oxalis given its distinct leaves.

A - @lucstrydom; B - @jkrenz; C - @tonyrebelo; D - @mr_fab

Oxalis bowiei
Distribution in Australia: broadly distributed across southern Australia, including southern WA, South Australia, Victoria, and NSW, plus a few rare records in SE Queensland.
Flowers: petals usually quite rounded and broad, overlapping, usually very rich/hot pink, sometimes paler, yellow-green throat (A).
Leaves: leaflets large (up to ~45 mm long), very rounded, shallow notch at apex (B).
General: This species is somewhat similar to Oxalis purpurea. Compared to O. purpurea, O. bowiei:

  • has many flowers per peduncle, compared to purpurea which only has one
  • usually has a much less prominent throat, compared to purpurea which typically has a very prominent, rich yellow throat
  • leaflets are weakly, yet nonetheless still noticeably, notched at the apex, compared to the usually unnotched and more circular leaflets of purpurea. Also, purpurea leaflets tend to be crowded to one side (whereas bowiei leaflets are arranged largely equidistant from each other on the petiole)
  • greenish-yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers, compared to the usually much stronger/richer yellow petal bases present in purpurea.

A - @callys; B - @reginat

Oxalis brasiliensis
Distribution in Australia: similar distribution to O. articulata, spanning from the NSW border around southeastern Australia to Adelaide, but excluding Tasmania, and seemingly more restricted to major cities/large urban areas (although this may be due to sampling bias).
Flowers: petals usually broadly rectangular- or wedge-shaped (helps to differentiate from some of the other pink-flowering Oxalis, which have round petals), pale pink through to a rich pink-purple with distinct dark striations extending upwards from the throat. Almost always with a distinct dark-purple flush encircling the throat.
Leaves: leaflets usually squashed/flattened love heart-shaped with a typically quite shallow notch at the apex.
General: This species is very similar to Oxalis articulata. Compared to O. articulata, O. brasiliensis:

  • petals seems to more consistently be squatter and more wedge-shaped (A), compared to articulata which often seems to have more elongate rectangular petals (although both petal types are present in both species)
  • leaflets seem to more consistently be a little wider than they are long (B), compared to articulata where the leaflets seem to more consistently be a little longer than wide or roughly as long as wide.
  • the notches at the leaflet apices are typically shallower in O. brasiliensis
  • has bulbs + bulbils (C) instead of a woody rhizome.

A and C - @nomennudum; B - @garry34

Oxalis caprina
Distribution in Australia: WA (restricted to around Perth southwards to Bunbury), South Australia (Adelaide and a few old Kangaroo Island records) and Victoria (a single recent iNaturalist record near Truganina)
Flowers: petals usually very pale mauve or lilac, sometimes white or with faint blue-ish tinge, prominent yellow throat (A), petals with prominent yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers (B).
Leaves: leaflets love heart-shaped, very prominently/strongly notched at the apex (C).
General: The strongly notched leaflets are quite distinct among the non-yellow flowering species, similar to those of Oxalis pes-caprae (a yellow flowering species)

A - @jamie2014; B - @plantrant; C - @willeminalunae

Oxalis debilis
Distribution in Australia: every state and territory in Australia, as well as Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, although most records are concentrated along the east coast from Brisbane to Sydney.
Flowers: pale to rich pink (usually towards the rich end) with distinct dark striations extending upwards from the throat, usually prominent bright green throat (A).
Leaves: leaflets love-heart shaped, usually very fat and rounded, often with quite distinct wrinkle-like veins, notched at the apex (B). Leaves consistently large and towards the maximum end of their size range (leaflets 40-45 mm long)
General: Similar to flowers of O. articulata and O. brasiliensis, but O. debilis lacks the distinct dark-purple flush encircling the throat, and the throat of O. debilis flowers is usually a much more obvious bright green compared to the subtler and less extensive yellow-green throat of the other two.

A - @russellcumming; B - @vickymills

Oxalis depressa
Distribution in Australia: WA (two 1990s records from Busselton, plus what seems to be a small population at Bunbury recorded on iNaturalist)
Flowers: petals white (both WA specimens were noted to have white flowers), pale pink or hot pink (A). Throat rich yellow, petals with prominent yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers.
Leaves: leaflets usually very rounded, rarely notched at the apex. Leaves usually noticeably asymmetrical, with the leaflets crowded towards one side. Leaves usually with conspicuously 'pebbly' looking surface (large epidermal cells) (B).
General: This species is very similar to Oxalis purpurea. Compared to O. purpurea, O. depressa:

  • has leaflets with a conspicuous 'pebbly' looking surface due to the large cells, whereas purpurea lacks these
  • is largely glabrous, whereas purpurea tends to be pubescent on the stems and often on the leaflet margins
  • has petals that seem to overlap less often than compared to purpurea, although this isn't the most reliable/consistent character.

A - @deans_beaver; B - @carinalochner

Oxalis flava
Distribution in Australia: WA (souhwest, mostly east of Perth), South Australia (Adelaide and surrounding region), and NSW (very rare, some 1950s records from Albury and an 1897 record from Sydney).
Flowers: petals for this species are usually yellow (sometimes with purple-brown edging, obvious in closed flowers (A)), but I have included it here as it also has a not uncommon white flowering form (and a seemingly rarer pink-purple form). For white-petalled specimens, the throat is prominent yellow (B).
Leaves: each leaf with 4-7 leaflets, leaflets usually slender, often folded lengthways and with hooked tips (C). These leaflets can be variable in shape, and are sometimes unfolded (D), but the large number of them (4-7) is a distinct feature compared to the other Oxalis here)
General: the leaves make this species unmistakeable.

A - @ydnewp2; B - @knysna_wildflowers; C - @darcywhittaker; D - @manfdot

Oxalis glabra
Distribution in Australia: WA (stretching along the eastern coast from around Jurien Bay all the way down to the south coast, although concentrated around Perth, plus a single iNaturalist record from between Ravensthorpe and Esperance), South Australia (around Adelaide) and Victoria (rare, near Melbourne and northwards).
Flowers: petals usually quite blocky/squarish, hot pink, prominent yellow throat (A), petals with prominent yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers (B).
Leaves: leaflets small, usually elongate, slender, often weakly to moderately folded lengthways and weakly notched at the apex (C).
General: This species is quite similar to Oxalis hirta. Compared to O. hirta, O. glabra:

  • has glabrous petals, whereas in hirta the exterior of the petals are hairy
  • tends to have more glabrous leaves (but still often finely hairy), whereas hirta tends to be more pubescent
  • has petioles as long or longer than the leaves (petioles up to 22 mm long), whereas hirta has petioles much shorter than the leaves (petioles usually just 1-2 mm long)
  • has leaflets without glands on the lower surface, but with blister-like epidermal cells, whereas hirta has the opposite (many glands, no blister-like cells).
  • has leaflets that tend to be narrower (usually 1-2 mm wide), whereas hirta often has broader leaflets (up to 7 mm wide).
  • has mostly petiolate leaves that are mostly crowded towards the top of the stem, whereas hirta has almost sessile leaves distributed along most of the stem.

A and C - @russellcumming; B - @slaadi

Oxalis hirta
Distribution in Australia: WA (rare, very few scattered records in southwestern corner), South Australia (mostly greater Adelaide area and surrounds, one 1965 record from the Eyre Peninsula) and Victoria (mostly greater Melbourne area).
Flowers: petals usually quite blocky/squarish, hot pink (although there are also white and pale purple flowering forms), prominent yellow throat (A), petals with prominent yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers, hairy on outside (B).
Leaves: leaflets small, usually elongate, slender, often weakly to moderately folded lengthways and weakly notched at the apex (C).
General: see comments above for comparison with Oxalis glabra

A - @insiderelic; B - @markberry; C - @alan_dandie

Oxalis incarnata
Distribution in Australia: broadly distributed across southern Australia, including WA (southwestern corner), South Australia (mostly greater Adelaide area), Victoria, NSW (Sydney southwards) and Tasmania.
Flowers: petals white or very very pale pink-purple (A), green throat, often prominent and with distinct striations extending upwards (B).
Leaves: leaflets love-heart shaped, moderately to strongly notched at the apex (C).
General: somewhat similar to Oxalis caprina, but O. incarnata has bigger flowers and an obvious green throat compared to the yellow throat of the former, plus incarnata also has a prominent stem (no aboveground stem in caprina) and only a single flower per peduncle (many per peduncle for caprina).

A - @light-up-gold; B - @bunts; C - @reiner

Oxalis latifolia
Distribution in Australia: broadly distributed across southeastern Australia from around Brisbane to Adelaide, including Tasmania, as well as scattered records near Townsville and Cairns, and a single recent iNaturalist record in Perth.
Flowers: petals pink-purple (rarely white), throat yellow with green striations (A). Each sepal with two conspicuous orange calli (calluses) at the apex (B).
Leaves: leaflets fish-tail shaped (C). Like Oxalis debilis, leaves are consistently large and towards the maximum end of their size range (leaflets 40-45 mm long)
General: largely unmistakeable given the size and shape of the leaflets.

A - @simon_hamlet; B and C - @thebeachcomber

Oxalis obtusa
Distribution in Australia: Victoria (mostly greater Melbourne, scattered records in Geelong and in regional Victoria near Bendigo, Beechworth and Seymour).
Flowers: petals very variable in colour, including very pale yellow (almost white), yellow, pink, and several shades of orange or orange-pink. Victorian plants tend to be pale yellow (A) or pink-orange. Throat rich, prominent yellow, surrounded by a rich orange ring. For most colour forms, the petals are covered in very prominent veins, visible on both surfaces (B).
Leaves: also variable, can be love-heart shaped or more linear/rectangular (C).
General: Although the leaves and flowers are both quite variable, the distinct petal venation usually makes this species quite obvious.

A - @spoonbilljames1995; B - @sequoia_l; C - @dhoare

Oxalis polyphylla (no Australian iNaturalist observations at time of writing)
Distribution in Australia: exceedingly rare (presumably as a garden escape for each record), with a single WA record (Mount Barker in the southwest), and two cemetery records (Canberra and Melbourne, possibly flowers placed on graves rather than naturalised plants). Also listed by APC as occurring in South Australia, but the ALA has zero collections or other records there.
Flowers: petals white, pale pink or pink purple, yellow throat (A).
Leaves: leaflets very elongate and slender (much longer than broad), often strongly folded lengthways (B), often clustered towards the top of the plant (C). Leaflet number variable, ranging from 3 to 8.
General: fairly distinct based on leaf morphology.

A - @renatakruyswijk; B - @knysna_wildflowers; C - @karooicus

Oxalis purpurea
Distribution in Australia: broad distribution across southern Australia spanning scattered records from as far north as K'gari, along the NSW coast, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southwestern WA (with a few scattered records extending as far north as Geraldton).
Flowers: petals usually strongly overlapping, hot pink (sometimes paler pink) (A), with a white flowering morph also common (B). Throat rich yellow, petals with prominent yellow petal bases obvious in closed flowers.
Leaves: leaflets usually very rounded, rarely notched at the apex. Leaves usually noticeably asymmetrical, with the leaflets crowded towards one side (C).
General: the stems are often bright red (D). Oxalis depressa is a very similar species, see the entry for it above for a comparison.

A - @franksteenhuisen; B - @gillbsydney; C - @kezzza4; D - @thebeachcomber

Oxalis violacea (no Australian iNaturalist observations at time of writing)
Distribution in Australia: WA (scattered records along the coast from Albany to Perth).
Flowers: petals white, pink or pale purple, throat yellow-green with a distinct white/pale ring surrounding it (A).
Leaves: leaflets love-heart, squashed love-heart, or fish-tail shaped (like Oxalis latifolia), although usually smaller. Leaflets often with distinct purple bands on upper surface (not always present though) (B), and lower surface sometimes suffused with purple also.
General: similar to a number of other species when considering individual characters, but fairly recognisable looking at the combination of all of them.

A - @illinoisbotanizer; B - @smoyers24.

Posted on 25 July, 2023 09:11 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 25 comments | Leave a comment

10 June, 2023

Splitting of Lysimachia arvensis colour morphs

Lysimachia is a fairly large genus (few hundred species), but is relatively poorly represented in Australia, with a small handful of naturalised non-native species, and a small handful of native species (although only one, L. japonica, is widely distributed in Australia, with others such as L. fortunei or L. vulgaris var. davurica known from one or very few locations, and are possibly here via waterbird dispersal from outside Australia). One species, L. arvensis, is by far the most widely distributed in Australia and certainly the most well-known as a common weed in disturbed sites such as pastures, wasteland, weedy creeklines, etc. It's found in all Australian states and territories except the NT. Perhaps its most salient feature is the presence of two different flower colour morphs: a bright orange form and a rich blue form.

Many sources, including (until recently) Plants of the World Online - the taxonomic authority we try to adhere to for plants on iNat - give these two forms official varietal names, i.e., Lysimachia arvensis var. arvensis for the orange form, and Lysimachia arvensis var. caerulea for the blue form. Although Australia's state herbaria don't formally recognise these two variety names, they do recognise the presence of both colour morphs in Australia.

Interestingly, and perhaps one of the reasons why the two morphs have been treated as the same species for so long, is that they are not only sympatric, but in many cases directly co-occur. A perfect example is this observation just uploaded today by @russellcumming: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/166499483

However, as some of you may have noticed, Lysimachia arvensis var. caerulea is no longer on iNat as of this morning; it has been elevated to full species, and is now L. loeflingii.

This change was based on this 2022 paper: https://academic.oup.com/botlinnean/article/199/2/557/6494517. It has also now been reflected in POWO (hence the change now in iNat).

Some relevant parts of the paper:

"Lysimachia arvensis (L.) Manns & Anderb. (synonym: Anagallis arvensis L.) and L. monelli (L.) Manns & Anderb. (synonym: Anagallis monelli L.) are two Mediterranean species that show intraspecific flower colour polymorphism (Ferguson, 1972; Pujadas, 1997). Petal colours are genetically determined (Freyre & Griesbach, 2004; Sánchez-Cabrera et al., 2021), and in both species blue- and red-flowered individuals are found due to the presence of different anthocyanins in their petals (Ishikura, 1981; Quintana et al., 2008; Sánchez-Cabrera et al., 2021). The species differ in ploidy, L. arvensis being tetraploid (revised by Pastor, 1992) and L. monelli being diploid (Kress, 1969; García Pérez et al., 1997).

...Blue- and red-flowered plants may appear in sympatric and allopatric populations, and pollinators show a preference for visiting blue-flowered plants in Mediterranean polymorphic populations (Ortiz et al., 2015) and high colour constancy patterns (Jiménez-López et al., 2020a). Hand-pollination between red and blue individuals gives rise to homogeneous F1 progeny with salmon-coloured flowers (Jiménez-López et al., 2020a), but these are infrequent in wild populations (Jiménez-López et al., 2020c). This ‘hybrid’ phenotype has been described as Anagallis × amoena Heldr. ex Halácsy (de Halácsy, 1904: 11). Nuclear microsatellite markers reconstructed two independent genetic groups for each colour morph, supporting this reproductive isolation between them (Jiménez-López et al., 2020b). All this ecological, morphological, reproductive and molecular evidence suggests that the two colour morphs of L. arvensis are independent lineages.

...Previous phylogenetic studies have scarcely explored the potential implications of corolla colour polymorphism in taxon delimitation in L. arvensis and L. monelli because this trait was considered part of the infraspecific variation. Consequently, only one colour morph per species was sampled in most of the molecular analyses (Martins, Oberprieler & Hellwig., 2003; Manns & Anderberg, 2005, 2007a; Anderberg, Manns & Källersjö., 2007; Yan et al., 2018).

...Lysimachia arvensis is a Mediterranean species currently distributed across the world as an alien species. It is annual, self-compatible (Gibbs & Talavera, 2001) and tetraploid (2x = 40; revised by Pastor, 1992).

...Our phylogenetic results based on nuclear ITS regions indicate that blue- and red-flowered individuals of L. arvensis and L. monelli are independent taxa (Fig. 2), reinforcing ecological, morphological and reproductive evidence.

...Although the presence of different ITS sequences in the red- and blue-flowered individuals of L. arvensis collected from the same populations had already been reported by Manns & Anderberg (2007b), the strong support of our ITS (100 BS, 0.999 PPS) and the species delimitation results (Table 4, Fig. 5) indicate that the two colour morphs of L. arvensis are different lineages and belong to different taxa. The ITS phylogenetic reconstruction is also congruent with recent studies on L. arvensis in which red- and blue-flowered plants were separated in different clades with nuclear microsatellite markers (Jiménez-López et al., 2020b).

...Flower colour constitutes a pivotal evolutionary force to speciation in several groups of plants (Carlson & Holsinger, 2015; Ellis & Field, 2016; Takahashi, Takakura & Kawata, 2016; Narbona et al., 2018), and it has been proposed as a ‘magic trait’, that is a trait ‘encoded by genes subjected to divergent selection that affect pleiotropically reproductive isolation’ (Servedio et al., 2011). However, according to ancestral state reconstruction, flower colour does not seem the trait promoting divergence between lineages of L. arvensis, although it does in L. monelli with posterior polyploidization events (see below). Ancestral state reconstruction of this trait invoked a blue-flowered common ancestor for this Mediterranean Lysimachia, and the transition to red-flowered plants probably occurred only once for the red-flowered common ancestor of red L. arvensis and red L. monelli. This kind of transition from blue to red flowers is quite frequent due to inactivation of a branch of the anthocyanin pathway (Rausher, 2008), and it has been found in L. arvensis lineages (Sánchez-Cabrera et al., 2021). In other plant groups, red-flowered species are usually derived from blue-flowered species (Kay et al., 2005; Wilson et al., 2007; Rausher, 2008; Wessinger & Rausher, 2012). In our study, the blue ancestor probably gave rise to two lineages, one entirely blue (which includes the blue lineage of L. arvensis) and another that subsequently separated into blue- and a red-flowered subclades (the latter including the red lineage of L. arvensis and L. monelli).

...Our results have taxonomic implications for the colour lineages of L. arvensis and L. monelli as each lineage should be defined as different taxa supported by morphological, phylogenetic and geographical data.

...Red-flowered plants of Lysimachia arvensis should maintain this name because Linnaeus in 1753 described the species from red-flowered plants.

...Blue plants of L. arvensis should be called with the specific epithet latifolia as it was the first name employed by Linnaeus in 1753 for plants with blue flowers. However, the epithet latifolia already exists in Lysimachia for a different taxon [Lysimachia latifolia (Hook.) Cholewa in Phytoneuron 28: 1–2 (2014) = Trientalis latifolia Hook., Fl. Bor. Amer. 2(9): 121 (1839), a plant described from Washington]. Therefore, we have selected the name L. loeflingii because Linnaeus in 1753 described blue-flowered plants from materials collected by Loefling in Spain."

So what all this means is that, anything we have been identifying as L. arvensis var. caerulea in Australia is now directly referrable to L. loeflingii. For iNat observations that were already ID'ed to this variety, no further work is needed, as the taxon swap moved them over automatically to the new species. However, in many cases, blue-flowered observations have been ID'ed only to species (which was fine and correct under the old scheme), so these are now incorrectly ID'ed. Similarly, observations that had one ID of L. arvensis and one ID of the blue variety will now have been bumped back to genus due to the now conflicting IDs. I'm going to go through today and correct IDs where I can.

There is one final important thing from the paper, which is the key they provide:

1 . Perennial plants, rarely annual herbs with a single stem; stem nodes with (two) three or four (five) verticillated leaves; fertile nodes with a single flower in the axil of each leaf; flowers with the corolla (14) 16–25 mm in diameter, styles 3–4 mm in length 2

  • Annual plants; nodes generally with opposite leaves, rarely with three verticillated leaves; fertile nodes with two flowers, one in each leaf axil, rarely with a single flower; flowers with corolla 3–12 (14) mm in diameter; styles 1.0–2.5 mm in length 3

2 . Flowers with orange or red corolla Lysimachia collina

  • Flowers with blue corolla Lysimachia monelli

3 . Plants generally compact; internodes generally shorter than the leaves; leaves, at least the upper ones, erect-patent, lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate, acute; fruit pedicels generally shorter than internodes; flowers with blue corolla, with elliptical lobes, strongly serrated in the upper half of the margin, covered with hairs with (three) four (five) cells, the terminal elliptical or sub-cylindrical, about the size and shape of the adjacent cell, sometimes glabrous Lysimachia foemina

  • Plants generally graceful; internodes often longer than leaves; leaves patent, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, obtuse or subacute; fruit pedicels generally larger than internodes; flowers with blue or orange-red corolla, with lobes broadly ovate, denticulate, with the margin densely covered with hairs with three cells, the terminal globose, larger than the underlying cell 4

4 . Flowers blue 5

  • Flowers orange or red Lysimachia arvensis

5 . Small plants, generally < 10 cm in length; root neck generally covered by secondary roots; ovate leaves; flowers with blue or pale blue corolla, often surpassed by calyx; styles 1.0–1.5 mm in length; Lysimachia talaverae

  • Generally large plants, up to 60 cm in length; bare root neck without secondary roots; ovate-lanceolate leaves, at least in the upper half of the stem; blue corolla, usually longer than the calyx; styles 2.0–2.5 mm in length Lysimachia loeflingii

What is immediately noticeable here is that, when separating L. arvensis and L. loeflingii, the only differentiating character provided in the key is flower colour! This has important implications because many observations in iNat are of non-flowering plants. I'm unsure what to do with all of these; reID them to genus, or leave them as L. arvensis for now? (in my personal experience at least, arvensis is far more common, at the very least in Sydney, compared to loeflingii, so on balance of probability a lot of non-flowering observations are probably of arvensis, but of course this is not a compelling argument)

The start of the paper does mention there are other differences between the orange and blue, namely:
"...colour morphs also differ in other traits such as flowering phenology or type of herkogamy (Arista et al., 2013; Jiménez-López et al., 2020c)". They also note that "The colour morphs show different geographical distributional patterns, blue-flowered plants appearing mainly in drier Mediterranean localities and red-flowered plants being predominant in more temperate areas (Arista et al., 2013)." However, given the co-occurrence of both species in Australia in the same populations (also noted in the paper: "Blue- and red-flowered plants may appear in sympatric and allopatric populations"), this geographical aspect doesn't seem like a helpful separator.

The Arista et al. paper found differences in flowering time in Mediterranean populations. A small selection of text from that paper:

"We found significant negative associations between blue morph frequency and latitude of populations, and between similarity in blue morph frequency and geographical distance of population pairs. This means that a geographical pattern of flower colour exists in L. arvensis, and it seems to be related to climatic features, which suggests that flower colour is not a neutral trait (Mayr 1965). The correlations found between blue morph frequency and the environmental variables studied indicate that blue plants are more frequent in dryer, hotter Mediterranean localities while red plants predominate in more temperate Oceanic areas. This could reflect a differential adequacy of morphs to environmental conditions that is also supported by the fact that red plants in southern mixed populations frequently occupied the wettest or shadiest places (M. Arista & P. L. Ortiz).

...In our experimental study, germination, seedling mass, seedling survival, and flower and ovule production all showed different morph-by-environment interactions. The blue morph showed lower germination in the shade and higher seedling mass in the sun treatment, while the red morph showed lower survival in the dry–sun combination, more flowers in the sun–wet combination and more ovules at sun or wet treatments. Since some treatment effects on the components of plant performance may counteract each other, they are poor predictors of the overall effect when analysed separately. Only by considering overall fitness, instead of each trait separately, enables us to assess how each colour morph is affected by the treatments (García & Ehrlen 2002). Overall male and female fitness of blue morph was markedly higher in dry conditions, and this suggests a better tolerance to more xeric environments. However, our experimental study failed to find a clear pattern of adequacy of red morph to more mesic environments as only in wet-sun but not in wet-shade conditions was overall female fitness higher (male fitness was also higher but not significantly). In fact, the wet–shade combination seems to be the less favourable for L. arvensis as both morphs showed their lowest fitness. Thus, the Mediterranean environment seems to be more suitable for the blue morph, while the red morph seems to perform better in wet and sunny places, such as those where it usually occurs in central Europe. But, it is possible that other environmental factors not considered here could also be responsible for the geographic pattern found in our survey.

...Although most of the traits studied were affected by the experimental treatments, onset of flowering was markedly earlier in the blue morph in relation to the red morph without any morph-by-environment interactions. This difference between morphs, regardless of growing conditions, is one of our most notable results and suggests that this trait is linked to flower colour and is genetically determined. This pattern of flowering can be also observed in natural mixed populations (pers. obs.)

...Taking into account all our results, we found in L. arvensis many monomorphic populations that were spatially isolated, and some mixed populations with observational and experimental evidence of divergence in flowering times between morphs. It is obvious that long-term spatial segregation can generate reproductive isolation and trigger speciation (Mayr 1965; Coyne 1992; Doebeli & Dieckmann 2003). However, even in absence of spatial barriers, differences in flowering time between morphs could cause assortative mating, leading to a decrease in gene flow between them and eventually to allochronic speciation (Fox 2003; Weis et al. 2005; Savolainen et al. 2006; Gavrilets & Vose 2007).

...The marked difference in flowering time between colour morphs leaves open the potential for assortative mating and speciation in L. arvensis"

So maybe these differences could help differentiate in Australia, but I am unsure.

The herkogamy difference (anther–stigma separation) relevant to the Jiménez-López et al. citation above, is unhelpful here as it's a flowering trait.

For now, I'm not going to touch the existing non-flowering observations and leave them IDed as L. arvensis, even though at very least a small subset of them will almost certainly be L. loeflingii. For any non-flowering ones I upload from now on, however, I will only ID to genus. But any with flowers, I will go through now and add IDs where needed.

I will also note that, even if you don't accept this change (which of course is completely fine), L. arvensis var. caerulea is now a synonym on iNat, so it is best to use the new name L. loeflingii; they refer to the same thing on iNat. If things change again in the future, it will be much easier to change Australian observations back with minimal work.

Just for reference, here is the iNat swap: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_changes/125737
and here is the original flag asking for the swap: https://www.inaturalist.org/flags/613934

@nicklambert @possumpete @wcornwell @hsauquet @russellbarrett @russellcumming @alx4mtmel @scottwgavins @gregtasney @reiner @bushbandit @mattintas @mftasp @rfoster @ellurasanctuary @margl @terra_australis @jackiemiles @onetapir @gtaseski @aavankampen
Please tag anyone I've missed

Posted on 10 June, 2023 02:18 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 39 comments | Leave a comment

18 April, 2023

Australian Bidens cleanup

Many Australians, especially those on the east coast, would be familiar with the plant genus Bidens, especially the very common and widespread non-native species B. pilosa. Referred to as cobblers pegs, pitch-forks, and shepherd's needles among a number of names, many bushwalkers (especially in more disturbed areas) will have brushed against one of these at some point and had their clothes covered in the annoying achenes. However, B. pilosa isn't the only species present in Australia. Also, Bidens in Australia has seen some taxonomic confusion between similar species.

@bean_ar provided a great overview of the situation in a 2020 edition of the Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter (see pp. 44-45 in https://asbs.org.au/newsletter/pdf/20-sep-184.pdf). As a summary of Tony's article, plus information from the various state herbaria, the species currently recognised as occurring in Australia are:

Bidens pilosa. Non-native. Common and widespread across the country, and recorded as occurring in all states and territories (including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., and Christmas Is.) except Tasmania. Many (most?) Australian herbaria/sources recognise two varieties of B. pilosa, var. pilosa and var. minor, with the former meant to be lacking any ligules/ray florets ('petals') and the latter having very small, white, often ephemeral ray florets. Tony notes in the above article that "My field observations in several locations have clearly shown that the non-ligulate form (var. pilosa) and the ligulate form (var. minor) occur mixed within the same population, even side by side. For this reason, I suggest that varieties should not be recognised in B. pilosa." Interestingly, Plants of the World Online also takes this view and does not accept the varieties, however, both are currently accepted and used on iNat as deviations.

Bidens biternata. Native. As noted by Tony, this species was previously overlooked in Australia, being misidentified as either B. pilosa (both pinnate leaves) or B. subalternans + B. bipinnata (all yellow ligules). It occurs across the Kimberley in WA (although Florabase is yet to take up this change), the Top End of the NT, and in QLD, down to within ~10 km of the NSW border based on specimens Tony has looked at.

Bidens tripartita. Non-native. Relatively uncommon in Victoria and NSW.

Bidens aurea. Non-native. Seemingly rare, recorded only from Sydney thus far.

Bidens bipinnata/Bidens subalternans. Non-native. I've included these two species together here because this is a taxonomically contentious pairing. Most sources treat these two entities as separate (but similar) species. However, Tony believes that the two should be collapsed into a single species (see the linked article above for explanation). Florabase has collapsed the two, and so too has QLD, however, NSW and FloraNT still treat them separately. For completeness, here is how the two are separated by the PlantNET key:

Pappus awns erect; peduncles and margins of involucral bracts glabrous or with scattered small septate hairs; leaflet lobes usually linear to lanceolate ---> Bidens subalternans

Pappus awns spreading; peduncles and margins of involucral bracts conspicuously ciliate with spreading septate hairs; leaflet lobes rhombic to broad-lanceolate ---> Bidens bipinnata

Bidens alba. Non-native. This is the species that prompted me to make this journal post. Previously, this species was included within B. pilosa as 'var. albus', although it was often just treated/identified as B. pilosa. Recently, however, it was elevated to full species status (for anyone interested, see discussion here: https://www.inaturalist.org/flags/362565). Unfortunately, most Australian herbaria have not recognised/taken up this change yet. The variety in Australia is var. radiata.

Florabase (WA) - not recognised. There are only 6 observations of Bidens on iNat for WA, none of them alba, so I don't know whether alba does occur in WA.

SA Flora (SA) - not recognised. A brief skim of iNat records immediately shows at least one observation of B. alba, so it clearly does occur here.

FloraNT (NT) - not recognised. There's only a single Bidens observation on iNat for the NT, so I don't know whether alba does occur in WA.

VicFlora (Vic) - not recognised. A brief skim of iNat records immediately shows multiple observations of B. alba, so it clearly does occur here. The main image for B. pilosa on the VicFlora page for that species also actually depicts B. alba.

PlantNET (NSW) - not recognised. Clearly does occur in NSW, with many iNat records. There are also AVH collection records in NSW (all in northern NSW, but it clearly extends all the way down based on my records + those of others).

Queensland Herbarium - recognised, and does occur.

There is also a native lookalike genus, Glossocardia, that is often mistaken for Bidens.

The main reason I made this post is that not a lot of people realise that B. alba is a separate species from B. pilosa, there are misidentifications of alba as pilosa on iNat in Australia, and a few years ago when B. alba was recognised on iNat, all observations of B. pilosa in Australia were actually pushed back to genus, so there are now a lot of easily recognised records sitting at genus because people weren't aware of the change. I'm going to go through the Australian Bidens records and add IDs where I can to clean things up.

For now, I'm going to recognise B. subalternans as a legitimate species in NSW, and ID based on the key. If it does get collapsed into B. bipinnata in future, it will be easy to swap these records into bipinnata.

Most of my IDs will be pilosa + alba, the two common species. Here are the ways to separate them:

QLD Keybase key (Tony's):

Ligules 10-16 mm long; leaves/leaflets with 17-42 pairs of teeth; teeth 0.5-1.3 mm long on large leaflets; leaves 1-3 (rarely 5)-foliolate --> alba

Ligules 2-8 mm long or absent; leaflets with 8-20 pairs of teeth; teeth 1.1-4 mm long on large leaflets; leaves 3-7-foliolate --> pilosa (and biternata, but that has yellow ligules, and alba always has white)

Weakley 2020 and Ballard 1986 (US sources):

Ray florets 5-8, the ligule 3-18 mm long; cypselas 0-2-awned, the awns 1-2 mm long; outer phyllaries (8-) 12 (-16) --> alba

Ray florets absent (or if a few present, the ligule is only 2-3 mm long); cypselas 3 (-5)-awned, the awns 1-3 mm long; outer phyllaries 7-10 --> pilosa

CONABIO (Mexico):

Up to 8 ligules that are notably longer than wide. Relatively short external (green) bracts --> alba

Absent or reduced ligules. At least some fruits with three awns instead of two --> pilosa

So there are discrepancies + overlaps between the keys re the differences in ligule length. What we can take home regarding pilosa and alba (ignoring the other species for now):

If flowers are present, and there are no white ligules, only yellow disk florets, it is B. pilosa. A good example is here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/155421971

If ligules are present, and they're white (if they're yellow, it's not pilosa or alba), and they're very small, it is B. pilosa. A good example is here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/120001760

If ligules are present, and they're white, and they're large, it is B. alba. A good example is here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/124345528

Now of course the tricky part comes when it's difficult to gauge ligule length from photos, or if plants are non-flowering. This is where ideally you would use the vegetative characters from Tony's key, although unfortunately the two species can overlap on all three leaf characters for some values/measurements.

I'm going to go through the Australian observations, ID all the easy ones first, then go back and look more carefully at the 'edge' cases.

Tagging some people who might be interested:
@bean_ar @nicklambert @gregtasney @aavankampen @scottwgavins @alx4mtmel @russellcumming @wcornwell @cesdamess @jackiemiles @insiderelic @gtaseski @onetapir @reiner @pcopping_ecp @martinbennett

feel free to tag others that I've missed

Posted on 18 April, 2023 10:45 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 12 comments | Leave a comment

16 February, 2023

Barrage of notifications - an apology

Lately, I've been curating/IDing a lot of old observations, both moving easy stuff to RG, and correcting mistakes that have been sitting around for a while. Thus far, however, I've only been adding my IDs to Needs ID obs, or RG obs that are incorrect. However, I'm going to be adding confirming IDs to a lot of RG obs from here on in for the groups that I'm curating. Aside from molluscs, I almost never do this, as I typically don't see much point in it. But one of the big tasks I've been trying to address recently is adding IDs to the tens of thousands of observations that lost them after the recent account deletion of a major Australian identifier. So for the taxa that I am doing a full review of, I think it probably is worth it to add IDs as an extra layer of protection in the event of future deleted IDs.

So apologies in advance for the notifications I may be generating for people :)

Posted on 16 February, 2023 07:59 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 4 comments | Leave a comment

13 February, 2023

Australian Agaristinae


Agaristinae is a charismatic subfamily of moths within the family Noctuidae (although sometimes treated as its own family, Agaristidae). Many species are brightly coloured or well-patterned, are highly active during the day, and are often mistaken for butterflies

According to the Australian Faunal Directory, there are currently 44 described species of Agaristinae in Australia across 21 genera.
This number should actually be 46 (and the genera 23), as there are records of the poorly known species Sarbanissa diana from Christmas Island despite it not being listed by the AFD, and there are now also records of Pseudcraspedia punctata despite it not being listed by the AFD (perhaps under a different name?). I can only assume there are also some undescribed entities (e.g., on BOLD), but for now I assume this covers all the known entities.

So how complete is Agaristinae in Australia on iNaturalist?

As of writing (13th February 2023), there are 4,730 Australian observations across 41/46 species (and within all 23 genera).

Agarista (1 species)
Agarista agricola

Agaristodes (1 species)
Agaristodes feisthamelii

Apina (1 species)
Apina callisto

Argyrolepidia (3 species)
Argyrolepidia aequalis
Argyrolepidia fractus
Argyrolepidia thoracophora

Burgena (1 species)
Burgena varia

Coenotoca (2 species)
Coenotoca subaspersa
Coenotoca unimacula

Comocrus (1 species)
Comocrus behri

Cremnophora (1 species)
Cremnophora angasii

Cruria (6 species)
Cruria donowani
Cruria epicharita --> zero observations
Cruria kochii
Cruria latifascia --> zero observations
Cruria synopla
Cruria tropica

Eutrichopidia (1 species)
Eutrichopidia latinus

Hecatesia (3 species)
Hecatesia exultans
Hecatesia fenestrata
Hecatesia thyridion

Idalima (5 species)
Idalima aethrias --> zero observations
Idalima affinis
Idalima leonora
Idalima metasticta
Idalima tasso

Ipanica (1 species)
Ipanica cornigera

Leucogonia (2 species)
Leucogonia cosmopis
Leucogonia ekeikei

Mimeusemia (3 species)
Mimeusemia centralis
Mimeusemia econia
Mimeusemia simplex --> zero observations

Periopta (2 species)
Periopta ardescens
Periopta diversa

Periscepta (2 species)
Periscepta butleri
Periscepta polysticta

Phalaenoides (2 species)
Phalaenoides glycinae
Phalaenoides tristifica

Platagarista (1 species)
Platagarista macleayi

Pseudcraspedia (1 species)
Pseudcraspedia punctata

Radinocera (2 species)
Radinocera maculosus
Radinocera vagata

Sarbanissa (1 species)
Sarbanissa diana

Zalissa (3 species)
Zalissa catocalina
Zalissa pratti
Zalissa stichograpta --> zero observations

So where should we be looking for the 5 unobserved species according to ALA records?

Cruria epicharita

Cruria latifascia

Idalima aethrias

Mimeusemia simplex

Zalissa stichograpta

Most of the 5 unobserved species have distributions confined to the Wet Tropics, from ~Cairns northwards.

Perhaps the most interesting species is Zalissa stichograpta, which is represented by a single record on the ALA, the type specimen collected in 1930 from the Bunya Mountains in SE Queensland.

@imcmaster @vicfazio3 @nicklambert @dustaway @domf @cher63 @kenharris @wellsii @dianneclarke @daviaker @hdavid @tas56 @reiner @larney @peregrine80 @ecosse28 @dhobern @davidtng @ianmcmillan @mattcampbellaus @kdbishop69 @dhfischer @sarahcobbaus @johnlenagan @jb2602 @urliup-wildlife-sanctuary @matthew_connors @paul2george @koolah @wambledyn @carolynstewart @eremophila @possumpete @dj_maple @d_kurek @gregtasney @bushbandit @kallies @leoncrang @ethanbeaver @ellurasanctuary @gumnut @twan3253 @benkurek__ @cesdamess @elainemcdonald

I have definitely missed out on tagging people here, so please tag anyone that I've forgotten

Posted on 13 February, 2023 10:36 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 22 comments | Leave a comment

06 February, 2023

Xerochrysum cleanup

On iNat, there are over 3000 Australian observations of Xerochrysum across 11 species. The majority of these are X. viscosum (>1500) and X. bracteatum (>800). However, Collins et al. (https://www.publish.csiro.au/SB/SB21014) recently published a comprehensive review of the genus, and there are some big changes. A number of new species have been described, some old species collapsed into others, and, perhaps most significantly, the circumscription of X. bracteatum has significantly narrowed. Xerochrysum bracteatum sensu strictu is now considered to only occur in "south-eastern New South Wales and far-eastern Victoria in the Sydney Basin, South East Corner, and South East Coastal Plain bioregions" (not accounting for garden escapees elsewhere given its commonness in horticulture), greatly reducing its previous distribution. This means there are now a lot of misidentified records on iNat. I'm intending to go through all records and make corrections where I can.

There are now 24 described species:
X. milliganii
X. collierianum
X. alpinum
X. palustre
X. andrewiae
X. subundulatum
X. banksii
X. viscosum
X. boreale
X. neoanglicum
X. macsweeneyorum
X. frutescens
X. copelandii
X. berarngutta
X. murapan
X. strictum
X. gudang
X. macranthum
X. papillosum
X. hispidum
X. interiore
X. bicolor
X. wilsonii
X. bracteatum

There are a further 4 yet to be formally described phrase name species:
X. sp. Chinchilla
X. sp. Blackfellows Gap
X. sp. North Stradbroke Island (L. Durrington 675) Qld Herbarium
X. sp. Tin Can Bay

2 entities are no longer valid:
X. halmaturorum --> now synonymised under X. bicolor
X. sp. Lofty Ranges --> now synonymised under X. bicolor

Tagging top observers and IDers of Xerochrysum for reference + to give heads up about impending notifications
@george_seagull @iancastle @michaelcincotta @yatesy @oneanttofew @onetapir @jackiemiles @quinkin @jimbobo @gtaseski @ninakerr01 @chrisclarke25 @mftasp @craig-r @w_martin @baronsamedi @kjellknable @lee488 @basaltnpepa @gregtasney @reiner @kim-tarpey @andrewborg @lizardview @garry34 @arthur_chapman @lmata @martinbennett @mononymous @adrian2370 @ray_turnbull @richie_south @corchard @linger @nicklambert @possumpete

Posted on 06 February, 2023 09:26 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 20 comments | Leave a comment

05 December, 2022

Duck River Survey finished

After almost 380 hours of surveying, I finally wrapped up my survey of Wategora Reserve along Duck River in western Sydney. All up, 1926 species observed in an area of just 25 ha.

All observations at: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/wategora-reserve-cooks-river-clay-plain-scrub-forest

Summary of survey, and link to download final 427 page report + fully annotated/illustrated checklist, at: https://tmesaglio.github.io/duck-river-biodiversity-survey/

Huge thanks to everyone who helped ID my observations

Posted on 05 December, 2022 06:14 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 10 comments | Leave a comment

04 May, 2022

Australian moths and the influence of Victor Fazio III

On iNaturalist, moths are a big deal in Australia. Indeed, at the end of last month, we surpassed 400,000 Australian moth observations on iNaturalist, so there's no better time to take a dive into this amazing group of insects.

As of early in the morning on 4 May 2022, 426,206 observations of moths in Australia have been uploaded to iNaturalist. These observations cover 5,479 species; although there are of course many undescribed (and undiscovered) species, the Australian Faunal Directory currently lists 10,432 Australian moth species, meaning we've already managed to document 52.5% of all described Australian moths. This number continues to grow at an impressive pace; in November 2020 it was 42.9%, and in December 2021 it was 49%, with almost 400 new species documented in the 5 months since. Moths make up almost 40% of all Australian insect observations on iNaturalist, and indeed constitute over 12% of all Australian observations across all taxa!

Although these statistics are certainly the result of an amazing group effort, with moth observations contributed by 10,807 users and identified by 2,767, one user stands head and shoulders above the rest, a titan of Australian moths on iNaturalist: @vicfazio3.

Without Vic, the Australian iNaturalist moth community would never have reached its current lofty heights; noone has done more for Australian moths on the platform. While his 137,261 identifications of Australian moths is incredible in its own right, this statistic becomes more amazing when you realise the second most prolific identifier has made 25,142 identifications, more than 100,000 below Vic. These identifications have been made for almost 5,000 users, representing a tremendous teaching effort and transfer of knowledge. Whether it's micromoths just a few millimetres in length, majestic emperor moths, or the thousands of obscure brown ones in between, Vic's knowledge is unparalleled. Indeed, the nature of moths truly highlights the breadth and depth of Vic's expertise. In taxa such as birds or butterflies, it is typically easier to gain the knowledge to identify many species. In a hugely diverse group like moths, where thousands of species are fairly uncharismatic and look quite similar to each other, it's much tougher to build the expertise to be able to confidently identify taxa from more than a handful of families or tribes, but Vic has managed to do exactly that.

But Vic is not just the go-to identifier for Australian moths; he's also a tremendously prolific observer. He currently sits second on the all-time iNaturalist observers list of Australian moths, with 26,384 observations across 1,290 species. For any regular iNaturalist users, Vic's observations are instantly recognisable: high quality photographs showing his trademark large mesh moth netting, most of them from around his home in the Manning Valley. Many of the moths photographed and uploaded by Vic represent the only photographs of those species on iNaturalist.

Vic has also written 27 journal posts on iNaturalist covering a broad range of invaluable topics, including taxonomic disputes and discrepancies, ecology, misidentifications, and BOLD. All of them are well worth reading.

Some of Vic's most valuable contributions are less tangible with respect to his personal stats. One of these is his tremendous generosity with his time and his endless patience. I have lost track of the number of times that I have tagged Vic to look at my moth observations, so I can only imagine the number of times he gets tagged by every other user as well. And for each and every tag, Vic always responds, either with an identification or a thoughtful comment pointing me in the right direction. The second is the great number of taxonomic discrepancies and pervasive misidentifications that he's resolved. On countless occasions, Vic has uncovered a species which has been misidentified en masse across iNaturalist, determined the correct identification, and then passed on this knowledge to other users. These corrections are crucial for improving the quality of data on iNaturalist (and by extension, the ALA and GBIF, into which these data flow). The third is the huge impact Vic's identifications (and observations) have had on iNaturalist's Computer Vision. A few years ago, uploading an Australian moth and trying to use the CV to suggest a species was a dead end unless you had observed something very common (think Scopula rubraria) or highly distinct (think Cosmodes elegans). Now, there are ~700 Australian moth species that can be offered as suggestions by the CV!

Across all taxa, Vic sits 2nd on the list of all time identifiers for Australia, 6th for all time observers in Australia, and indeed has the 56th most identifications out of any iNaturalist user anywhere in the world (out of almost 250,000), having made an incredible 203,098 identifications. Vic is one of the most important, prolific and recognisable contributors to iNaturalist, having been part of the platform for more than eight years. Here's to Vic.

Posted on 04 May, 2022 08:37 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 5 comments | Leave a comment

20 April, 2022

Setting up projects with 'Australia' as a place filter

As a heads up for anyone that either runs an existing project (or intends to make a project) with Australia as a place filter, there are a number of external territories that are not included in 'Australia' as a place on iNat, and must instead be added manually as additional places. These are:

Norfolk Island
Christmas Island
Cocos Islands
Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Another useful addition is the waters around Australia, i.e., the Australia Exclusive Economic Zone

Similarly, if you have a project with NSW set as the place filter, you must also manually add Jervis Bay Territory as an extra place, otherwise observations from Jervis Bay won't be included

Here are the iNat codes for all these places:

Australia - 6744
Norfolk - 7333
Christmas - 7616
Cocos - 10287
Heard/McDonald - 10293
Waters - 118147
Jervis Bay - 96781

Posted on 20 April, 2022 09:33 by thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 1 comment | Leave a comment