Discovering new plants
We discover more than 50 new species of plants, algae, lichens and fungi in Queensland each year. These new species are formally described under international rules, and are then recognised as part of the established native flora of Queensland.
Descriptions and illustrations of new species are published in the Queensland Herbarium’s international journal Austrobaileya. Identification keys and illustrations are also included in the publication to assist users. Additional identification keys to the Queensland flora can be found on KeyBase.
The Census of Queensland Flora records the status and distribution of all of the knownflora species in Queensland, and is updated annually to include newly described species, along with name and status changes that have occurred during the year.
For more information on these publications contact the Queensland Herbarium.
2015 plant species discoveries
In 2015, botanists described 21 new plant species for Queensland, as documented in the latest issue of the journal Austrobaileya. Two of these species are recommended for Nature Conservation Act listing as threatened.
Anisomeles, family Lamiaceae
Eighteen new species of Anisomeles are described by Tony Bean, 12 of them from Queensland: A. brevipilosa; A. bundeyensis; A. carpentarica; A.dallachyi; A. eriodes; A. languida; A. lappa; A. macdonaldii; A. ornans; A. papuana; A. vulpina; A. xerophila. They are all perennial herbs or shrubs, often glandular, and with spicate inflorescences of white, pink or mauve flowers. One species, Anisomeles vulpina, is highly restricted to a small area west of Ingham in north Queensland. The genus occurs throughout northern Australia and in south-east Asia and India where some species have medicinal uses.
Taeniophyllum, family Orchidaceae
Three new species of the orchid genusTaeniophyllum are described by Bruce Gray, all from north Queensland: T. epacridicola from northern Cape York, and T. explanatum and T. triquetroradix from the wet tropics. All are small leafless epiphytic orchids growing on trees and shrubs. The spreading roots are green and often flattened and ribbon-like, and the tiny flowers open one or two at a time.
Cynometra, family Fabaceae
This tropical tree genus is widely distributed, with many species used for timber or food. In Australia there are three species, including the newly described Cynometra roseiflora, which is distinguished by its pink flowers and bright red new leaves. It only occurs in a small area of wet lowland rainforest in the wet tropics. This new species is described by Wendy Cooper and named for the pink flower colour.
Olearia, family Asteraceae
Olearia is a common genus of daisy in Australia, comprising more than 100 species. The new species, Olearia cuneifolia, is highly restricted with only three populations known, all in south central Queensland. The large white flower heads and cuneate leaves are distinctive for the species. This new species is described by Tony Bean and Michael Mathieson.
Eremophila, family Scrophulariaceae
The genus Eremophila is endemic to Australia and has over 200 species occurring across the landscape. The new species, Eremophila woodiae, is a small resinous shrub with densely crowded linear leaves and purple tubular flowers. It is endemic to a small area in western central Queensland, but is locally common. Described by Mark Edginton and named in honour of Aileen Wood.
Rhynchospora, family Cyperaceae
The genus Rhynchospora, part of the large sedge family, has over 300 species and is cosmopolitan in distribution. Rhychospora croydonensis is a new species found only in the seasonally wet areas between the Gilbert River and Croydon in north Queensland. The species is described by Ron Booth and named for the town of Croydon.
Plectranthus, family Lamiaceae
Plectranthus species are all herbs or subshrubs with characteristic square stems and fleshy leaves. Two new species, Plectranthus laetus and P. ventosus are described by Paul Forster. Both are restricted to Cape York Peninsula, where they are only known to occur at Orchid Creek Station and Cape Melville respectively. Both are small perennial herbs with scentless leaves. The flowers are purple to white, and arranged in clusters on tall flower spikes.
Gnetum, family Gnetaceae
Gnetum is the sole genus in the gymnonsperm family Gnetaceae and order Gnetales, and has 33 species distributed throughout the tropics. David Fell and colleagues have made the first record of this family for Australia with the discovery of Gnetum gnemon from rainforest on Badu and Mua Islands in Torres Strait.
More information, publications and reports can be found under Queensland Herbarium publications.