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A Good Read

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Reviews in this issue cover "Wildflowers of Western Australia" by Jiri and Maree Lochman, "Australia’s Wildflowers" by Jaime Plaza van Roon, photographer, "The Blooming Lilly Pilly" by Calder Chaffey and "Greenweb Sydney". Books Diagram

Wildflowers of Western Australia
Jiri and Maree Lochman

Published by New Holland Publishers (Aust) Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1998
Hard Cover, 112 pages, colour photos; $AUS37



Australia’s Wildflowers
Principal photographer - Jaime Plaza van Roon

Published by New Holland Publishers (Aust) Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1998
Hard Cover, 128 pages, colour photo; $AU29.50

Reviewed by Tony Cavanagh

Both these books fall into the category sometimes derogatively known as “coffee-table books” – large format, fine art paper and lots of colour photos. But there the similarity ends. The photography is stunning – I do not think that I have ever seen so many fabulous photographs of Australian plants in the one place before. Both sets of authors are professional photographers who came to Australia from overseas and developed a love of the Australian environment and our flora and fauna. Whether they are showing the minutest details of a tiny Drosera or the flower of a Stylidium, or a carpet of everlastings after desert rains, the pictures are sharp and clear and about as artistically perfect as you could wish.

Neither book attempts to be comprehensive. Van Roon has chosen groups of plants Australia-wide – “rich in nectar”, “western beauties”, “ground orchids”, “flamboyant peas”, while the Lochmans have made their selections from the various botanical areas of Western Australia. The text is minimal, especially in ‘Australia’s Wildflowers’, and there is no horticultural information. They would make a delightful gift, especially for an overseas friend or for anyone who enjoys truly wonderful photography.

Despite the beauty of the presentation, both books are not without blemish. I have always been critical of authors who use common names almost exclusively and I believe this is a major failing with ‘Australia’s Wildflowers’ If anyone would like to know more about a particular plant or perhaps try to buy one, “red spider flower” doesn’t tell them very much. The approach in ‘Wildflowers of Western Australia’ is a good compromise where the Latin name is given under the photo and the caption text uses the common name. Both also have incorrectly identified plants. In ‘Australia’s Wildflowers’, the dryandra on page 78 called “Parrot Bush” (D.sessilis) is actually D.praemorsa; in ‘Wildflowers of Western Australia’, Dryandra polycephala on page 26 is D.kippistiana . These do not detract seriously from either book.

My favourite pictures? A hard choice but the two-page spread on pages 6 and 7 of everlasting daisies in ‘Australia’s Wildflowers’ is sensational and the exquisite close-up of a tiny pygmy possum pollinating a grevillea (page 81 of ‘Wildflowers of Western Australia’) must rank as one of the finest flora/fauna shots ever taken.

Reprinted from the June 1999 issue of the newsletter of the Australian Plants Society (Victoria).


The Blooming Lilly Pilly
Calder Chaffey; illustrations by Lesley Cordery and Calder Chaffey

Published by the Australian Plants Society (NSW) - Far North Coast Group
Soft cover, 29 pages, $AU8.50 inc. postage within Australia from P.O. Box 4083 Goonellabah, NSW, 2480.

Reviewed by Brian Walters

The Far North Coast Group of the Australian Plants Society (NSW) has been very active in publishing in recent years. The group has produced a series of invaluable guides all aimed at making the cultivation of Australian plants more successful, particularly in sub-tropical climates.

The Blooming Lilly Pilly comes hot on the heals of The Blooming Eucalypt, The Blooming Banksia and The Blooming Grevillea, all of similar format. The present title covers 15 species and forms all but one of which are native to the north coastal area of New South Wales. The odd one out is Syzygium paniculatum which is included because of its widespread cultivation. The inclusion of S.paniculatum is, however, means that the book covers all lilly pillys which are found naturally in southern Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Each species is described in detail accompanied by line drawings which illustrate particular distinguishing features. It is apparent that an impressive amount of research has gone into the publication and this is illustrated by the range of features described for each species:

  • Derivation of the botanical name
  • Physical characteristics of the plant
  • Botanical characteristics
  • Uses of the timber
  • Distribution
  • Cultivation and propagation notes

The descriptions would probably be reason enough to buy the book but there's more!

  • History of the lilly pilly
  • Botanical differences between the four lilly pilly genera (Acmena, Eugenia, Syzygium and Waterhousea)
  • An identification key to the species covered in the book
  • Descriptive table of the various fruits
  • Table of flowering and fruiting months
  • Distribution maps
  • Glossary of terms

This is a "no nonsense" publication. There are no glossy photographs and no "padding". The text is concise and well written and the diagrams are designed to clearly illustrate specific features. In short....an outstanding effort and highly recommended.


Greenweb Sydney
The Sydney Region Organisation of Councils

65 pages, $AU25.00.

Reviewed by Jeff Howes

Green-Web-Sydney is a vegetation Management Plan for the Sydney Region that deserves to be successful. The publication proposes the establishment of a green web of native vegetation to protect, conserve and enhance remaining remnant bushland in the Sydney region. Central to the plan is the establishment of habitat corridors, which link fragmented patches of bushland to facilitate the migration of wildlife and natural dispersion of native plants. This includes the creation of buffer zones around existing bushland to minimise the impacts of weed invasion and urban pressures such as residential development, stormwater runoff, rubbish dumping and vehicular access.

The project is in response to a growing concern over the destruction of remnant bushland as a result of clearing and urban development in Sydney. The project objectives were:

  • To identify remnant bushland , regional habitat corridors and vegetation sites as part of a green web to protect, enhance and expand vegetation, habitat and biodiversity in Sydney.
  • To develop an Action Plan for the revegetation and /or management of sites identified as part of the green web which can be implemented uniformly across Sydney.
  • To prepare a summary of native vegetation communities in Sydney which provides useful information for the identification and re-establishment of indigenous plant communities.

In recognition of the need for the coordination and uniform approach to the protection and management of remnant bushland across the 42 councils that make up metropolitan Sydney, the Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SROCs) obtained funding from the Australian Nature Conservation Agency to employ Environmental Planner Ms Birgit Seidlich as Project Manager for Green-Web Sydney.

The Action Plan

  • Calls for the introduction of more effective planning policies and practices to protect and conserve remnant bushland.
  • Makes recommendations how to achieve better regional cooperation between Councils, State Government and community groups in order to protect bushland core areas and develop habitat corridors across Sydney.
  • Specifies for Councils, policies, planning strategies, development controls and management practices for vegetation management that, if adopted, will ensure biodiversity conservation and enhancement in Sydney.

Included in the book are excellent one to two page descriptions of the many native vegetation communities and landscape transects that comprise the Sydney region. While these have been added for general reference they contain a wealth of information under three main headings: Topography and Soils, Floristics and Conservation Status.

I was also surprised to see amongst the 17 recommendations for the ROCs was to integrate the seed collection and propagation programs for indigenous plants and local seed stock with revegetation work to ensure that local gene pools are preserved.

Copies can be obtained at a cost of $25 by contacting Byron Jones at:

The Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils
c/- Inner Metropolitan Regional Organisation of Councils (IMROC)
PO Box 1591 Sydney 2000
Ph 9265 9439. Fax 9265 9115.
Email imroc@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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Australian Plants online - June 1999
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants