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Australian Plants online

Net Watch...choice selections on the 'net

Eyeball "Net Watch" aims to report those sites that you, as a grower, propagator or appreciator of Australian plants, might find interesting. Most of them relate to Australian issues of a horticultural, botanical or conservation nature but a few are of more general interest. A couple of other sites are "thrown in" for no other reason than that they redefine the term "bizarre". If you know of a site that fits into these general categories, please let us know.

The Living World

Endangered Species Programme

"On the Brink" is an occasional newsletter of the Endangered Species Programme. To date 8 issues have been produced, the latest in June 1996. The programme covers both plants and animals and is managed by the Australian Nature Conservation Agency (ANCA).

The newsletters cover a wide range of topics, usually in fairly general terms but with references or links to more detailed information. A few of the topics covered in the most recent issues are:

Issue 6:

  • Wollomi Pine - The Missing Link?
  • Key Threatening Processes and Feral Pests
  • Threatened Species databases
Issue 7:
  • Forest Biodiversity
  • Conservation networks
  • Endangered Species - Progress on Recovery Plans

Pimelea spicata is a small, inconspicuous plant whose habitat in western Sydney has been decimated by urban growth. A recovery plan for the species is under way. Select the thumbnail image or highlighted phrase for a higher resolution image (23k).

Issue 8:
  • Plant Priorities - Ranking Threatened Flora for Conservation Action
  • Vertebrate Priorities
  • Threat Abatement Plans - Root-rot fungus
These newsletters are probably of greatest interest to the committed conservationist but everyone can learn a little bit from them. It's not clear if there will be any more issues.

Fern Resources

Like orchids, ferns have a large and loyal following of enthusiasts. And like all plants, some ferns are easily grown, some only grow well in certain climates and some simply keep dying.

Novices and experts will find useful advice at the Fern Resources Hub. This site is operated by the San Diego Fern Society but its interest extends beyond California and beyond the USA. Here you will find information on:

  • Fern care
  • Fern identification
  • Fern societies - world wide
  • Places to buy ferns and fern spore
  • Fern references
Perhaps the most unique feature of the site is the "Fern Experts" section where enthusiasts are able to gain access to a range of specialists for help with identification and general questions.

Another site worth visiting is Native Ferns for Cool Climates. This is part of the comprehensive site maintained by the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Greenfingers Magazine

"Greenfingers" is a monthly, on-line gardening magazine aimed mainly at UK gardeners. This means that there won't be much on Australian plants in the magazine but it's still worth a look if your interests extend beyond things antipodean...or if you are just a plant "junkie"!

In any case, a number of the articles are general enough to interest most gardeners whatever their favorite form of foliage. For example, the April 1997 issue included a good article on setting up and maintaining container plants and hanging baskets.

The magazine covers areas that you would expect in this type of publication; feature articles, departments, letters, book reviews, opinion, etc....just like "Australian Plants online" really!

Nursery Industry Association, Australia

The NIAA is the peak industry body for the Australian nursery industry. The web site is the result of a project funded by the Australian nursery industry and the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation. The two main aims of this project are to ;

  • create a world wide web site for the provision of information to the Australian professional nursery industry.
  • encourage and facilitate use of the Internet and World Wide Web as a major information resource within the Australian nursery industry.
Although aimed at professional nursery operators, keen amateurs will find value here as well.

Dynamic Pulse The section of most general appeal is the "Nursery Papers". These are summaries of research papers by experts in many different areas of horticulture but they are more than simple abstracts. Of particular interest are:

  • Paper No.7 - Dynamic Pulse; a new method of propagating difficult cuttings
  • Paper No.8 - Biological control of thrips, mites and other insects
  • Paper No.9 - Reducing nutrient leaching from pots
  • Paper No.11 - Improving nitrogen management in woodwaste based potting mixes
  • Paper No.12 - Controlling downy mildew in nursery seedlings
  • Paper No.13 - Rid seeds of disease; give them a sauna
The site also contains a useful range of horticultural links, including SGAP (of course!). The site will undoubtedly expand in coming months and is well worth a bookmark

Not Welcome Here!!

Weed....the most offensive 4-letter word in the gardener's vocabulary.

A weed is a plant in the wrong place. A stately 25 metre high Bunya Pine can be a weed (to a Roads Authority) if it is standing in the middle of an expressway extension. One person's rose bush can be another's thorny, pest infested waste of space.

Of more serious concern are the environmental weeds - plants that invade and displace natural ecosystems to a greater or lesser extent. Environmental Weeds in Australia looks at some of Australia's pest plants - how our backyards can spread them, control measures, effect on natural environments and what people can do to help.

The attractive daisy flowers of Boneseed may distract attention from the invasive properties of the plant in suitable areas. Select the thumbnail image or highlighted name for a higher resolution image (40k).

The Macquarie University's Virtual Museum also includes useful information on Australia's feral plants and, on the other side of the Pacific the California Exotic Pest Plant Council lists exotic weeds of greatest concern in California. Australians, particularly Tasmanians, might be surprised to learn that included on List 1 (plants of most serious concern) is Eucalyptus globulus, the Tasmanian Blue Gum and that state's floral emblem.

No Plants...But Worth Checking!

The Unkindest Cut

The Testicular Cancer Resource Centre may seem an unlikely subject for inclusion here but it's an example of the World Wide Web at its best. Whether you're a candidate for TC or not (and it is the most common form of cancer in males between the ages of 20 and 35) this site is worth a look...if only for the extensive selection of testicle-related humour!!! All in good taste, of course, and bloody hilarious.....

A mild example...A man goes to a doctor for an examination. After the exam the doctor tells the man, "I have bad news for you. You have Alzhiemer's disease and testicular cancer." The man says, "Whew, at least I don't have cancer!"

Humour aside, this site shows just how well the web is suited to mutual support. TC may be a very treatable form of cancer in most cases but it is still the "Big C" and the newly diagosed are understandably aprehensive of the consequences. Having access to the support of others, being able to obtain a thorough understanding of the disease and its treatment and realising that there are others out there able to get on with their lives and even joke about the condition all add up to a large measure of reassurance.

There are many sites on the web which would not be missed if they disappeared. This is not among them!

European Discoveries in the Pacific

This is an unusual site because there is no identifiable author. The material appears to be accurate and well researched and it is professionally presented but no one appears to want to take the credit! But that needn't stop us.......

Sailing Ship To many Australians, the European discoveries of Australia commenced in April 1770 when Captain James Cook reached the east coast. It comes as something of a surprise to find out that the Dutch had mapped much of the north, west and southern coasts over 100 years before Cook arrived. The Dutch, however, found little in the way of commercial potential and it was left to the English, and their need of a penal colony, to establish a permanent settlement. From time to time there are tantalising suggestions of an early Dutch settlement in the inland, an early Portuguese shipwreck on the southern coast and even earlier maps but none of these have been verified. These Dutch landfalls, however are not in dispute.

The site is well laid out with simple but clear maps showing the locations of the various landfalls. The period covered extends from 1605 when the first landfall was made by the Duyfken on the eastern side of Cape York and concludes with Cook's first voyage of the Pacific which resulted in his discovery of the east coast in 1770. The descriptions are not extensive but informative.

Off the Planet!

Plastic Surgery

What do you get when you mix Geoffry Rush's nose with Tom Cruise's eyes, Ralph Fiennes' mouth and Woody Harrelson's hair?

If you want to find out you'll need to visit the Best Actor Plastic Surgery Lab. Here the various parts of the oscar nominees can be mixed and matched to produce the....." Superactor! And that is your mission. Sharpen your scalpel and create the greatest actor who ever lived. No messy gauze necessary". It's all fairly mindless but we all need something mindless once in a while and it's done with a lot of panache!

When you get sick of mixing up the men you can have a go at the best actress nominess, the cast of "Friends" and several other unsuspecting public figures.

This site is part of the Mr Showbiz site which is worth a look if the world of entertainment is your "thing". You'll find interviews, gossip, reviews and much more.

Drinking Games

The premise here is quite simple:

  • Take some re-runs of your favorite (or least favourite TV show)
  • Have on hand a supply of your favorite beverage
  • Take one, two or three portions of the beverage every time a particular cliche occurs (one for a routine cliche; three for something outrageous)
  • Mix well (shaken not stirred)
Of course, the choice of beverage is yours....never let it be said that this publication encourages licencious behaviour!

There are any number of Drinking Game sites on the web to help you along...some are fairly ordinary and you will get a reasonable sampling by typing "drinking games" into your favorite search engine. But to get you started here are a couple which are at least reasonably amusing. Remember, you take one or more drinks whenever the following events occur:

Star Trek

  • Doc McCoy says "He's dead Jim"
  • Scotty says "The engines canna take the strain!"
  • Spock says "Illogical"
  • Anyone says "Energise!"
  • Kirk says "This is James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise"

  • Mulder oversteps his boundaries
  • Scully uses a word ending in "-able"
  • Scully appears to be taller than someone else
  • The results of Scully's tests are extraordinary
  • Anyone refers to Mulder or Scully by their first names

There is also the Sliders Drinking Game but, in this case, alcohol is almost mandatory....preferably before the show starts.

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Australian Plants online - June 1997
The Society for Growing Australian Plants