Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

About Electronic Flora of South Australia
  The State Herbarium of South Australia is the foremost authority on the State's plants, algae and fungi.
  The Electronic Flora of South Australia facilitates access to information traditionally published in semi-popular and technical handbooks. For a start, the Electronic Flora of South Australia will provide the contents of the four- volume, 4th edition Flora of South Australia published in 1986 in the form of species fact sheets. This is supplemented by a Census of the State's Vascular Plants, which is now in its 5th edition, a plant species mapper, and access to identification tools as they become available.
  Work on a new, 5th edition of the Flora of South Australia is currently on the way, with several chapters already published on-line. New and up-dated treatments will be released every 4-6 months. Information from this new edition will be incorporated into the eFloraSA fact sheets in the near future.
The Electronic Flora of South Australia
  The Electronic Flora of South Australia aims to provide a comprehensive Web-projected account of the plants of a large part of the Australian continent.
  The advantage of an electronic flora over traditional hard copy publications lies in the linkage of its outputs to its growing underlying computerised data sets.
  • The Plant Distribution Mapper is linked to data associated with ADHERB, the database of general collections of the State Herbarium of South Australia
  • The Census of South Australian Plants, Algae and Fungi is linked to FLORA, a computerised database of plant information, including current scientific name, previous superseded scientific names (synonyms), and aspects of the occurrence in the 13 State Herbarium regions of the State and in other states and countries.
  • Plant Identification Tools. The traditional dichotomous keys are transformed into a Web facility, with our first examples being a key to South Australian Acacias and all keys in the out-of-print Flora of South Australia (1986). Pictorialised interactive keys geared for easier identification are being developed in participation in national project, see for example the tool for identifying Solanaceae of Australia.
  These dynamic links of the Web output of data sets based on herbarium specimens means that data and information projected can be upgraded on a regular basis, though, as with the traditional book products, this remains heavily dependent upon resources.
  A major project initiated by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria is Australia's Virtual Herbarium, which gives access in the first instance to the data previously locked away on the specimens held in the 8 principal Australian Government herbaria.
  The current Electronic Flora of South Australia:
The State Herbarium of South Australia
  The State Herbarium of South Australia, housed in the Plant Biodiversity Centre (the old Tram Barn A on Hackney Road), has since the 1950s been the focal point of a long tradition of production of books on our flora, such as the Flora of South Australia, and censuses of plants.
  Other books available include treatises on Australian marine algae and on South Australia's macro fungi, on its lichens, its mosses, and in the flowering plants, its orchids and wattles. There is also a steady flow of research publications in which important advances in scientific knowledge of South Australian and Australian plants are documented. The State herbarium also published the annual Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, one of five taxonomic journals issued by Australian herbaria.
  Over one million specimens are preserved in the State Herbarium collection. The Herbarium's team of taxonomic botanists and technicians research them to provide an improved data and information base on the flora.

  The State Herbarium of South Australia is a joint facility of the Department for Environment and Water (administered with other scientific branches within its Science, Monitoring & Knowledge Branch) and the Board of the Botanic Gardens & State Herbarium.
  The State Herbarium and its staff are part of a large cooperative national and global network of scientific institutes (herbaria and museums) with scientists working on extensive biological collections with the common aim of advancing knowledge of regional and global biodiversity. It is a foundation member of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria which represents the herbarium collective on national and international issues and has promoted recent major national initiatives such as the Australia's Virtual Herbarium and a Consensus Census of Australian Plants. (See links page for more information).
  The Australian continent has a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Its makeup is far from fully known. In South Australia more than 10 new species of plants are discovered every year through study of the State Herbarium collections and in cooperation with interstate overseas botanists. For more information, visit the State Herbarium web-site, including the Publications pages.

Australia's Virtual Herbarium
  Herbaria have long provided information about plants, algae and fungi. The oldest Australian herbaria, in Melbourne and Sydney, were founded in the mid 1800s.
  Australian plant systematists have produced thousands of authoritative publications on plants, algae and fungi, including scientific papers and floras and other semi-popular handbooks founded on the cooperation and extensive resources of the Australian herbaria.
  The ease of computer storage of data and information, and the World Wide Web, providing sophisticated remote access to these data, are ideally suited to projecting this important knowledge base to a wider client base. Organisations and individuals now have unsurpassed opportunity for accessing these data. The long tradition of cooperation among the Australian herbaria has been an essential element to the agreement in the year 2000 to begin providing access to their collective data and information via an on-line virtual national Herbarium.
  Australia's Virtual Herbarium was established by agreement between the Commonwealth and States Ministers for Environment has established a funding base, largely from Commonwealth and State components of the Natural Heritage Trust, but also involving private sources, to complete the data capture of these specimens. The funds are administered by the Australia's Virtual Herbarium which has representatives from the Commonwealth, States and the public.
  Mapping plant distribution
  The Australian herbaria house 6 million herbarium specimens, the oldest of which were collected on early European voyages of discovery. Each collection has documentation of the location from which it was collected. About 80% of the over 6 million specimens and the greater majority of the "vascular plants" (flowering plants, conifers, and ferns) held in Australian herbaria have been databased, including over 800,000 of the estimated one million specimens held in the State Herbarium of South Australia.
  Users now, for example, can access any of the early South Australian collections, many of which are housed in the National Herbarium of Victoria, as evidence of plant distributions prior to the extensive land clearance of the past 150 years.
  In its first phase of development, Australia’s Virtual Herbarium projects distribution maps dynamically generated from a single query to a number of distributed data sets, each belonging to a Government herbarium. The data is being captured and released plant group by plant group in a coordinated national programme, as checking is completed.
  Describing Australia's plants
  The Atlas of Living Australia, incorporating data from Australia’s Virtual Herbarium will deliver descriptions of the flora dynamically linked to data and information from across the continent, a distributed on-line Flora. As new observations are confirmed and recorded in databases, they can be released without the long delays inherent in traditional hard copy publication.
  In the meantime a number of States and the Commonwealth have put their floras on-line, for example Western Australia's FloraBase, New South Wales' PlantNet, the Commonwealth Australian Biological Resources Study's Flora of Australia On-line, as well as South Australia's Electronic Flora of Australia. A recent innovation of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria has been the development of a Consensus Census of Australian Plants, which will be developed for the vascular plants in 2005 and 2006 in a collaborative venture by the Australian Herbaria. This project will facilitate the integration of knowledge embedded within these floras. (See links page for more information).
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Date last modified: 2010-11-23

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