The Spectrum botany gang spent a great week hiking gorges, creeks, and hills looking for Priority Flora in the Pilbara. The large survey area meant mobilising a large team, providing a fantastic opportunity for six of our enthusiastic botanists to spend time together in field, recording valuable data and improving knowledge of our unique flora in WA.
The study area is known to be potentially inhabited by a high number of significant flora species, and so prior to departing for the field, the team thoroughly studied the key characteristics of each species and produced detailed field guides to assist them with identification.
On the first day, we visited known significant flora locations to give the team the opportunity to really familiarise themselves with the target species and to understand how the plants appear at a distance, their form, and what colour they take on with the natural light. For example, is it shimery at a distance? Is it dull? Is it wispy? These are factors that can be difficult to interpret from photos, but make a huge difference in the field.
We walked hundreds of kilometres of transects and had the pleasure of spending time with a great client who came out to visit us for two days. The tracks really put our four-wheel driving skills to the test, with steep inclines, and many, many call up areas.
Most of the species we were looking for occurred along the small tributaries and drainage lines of the area. Walking these creeks lined with the white bark of the Eucalyptus victrix, the red Grevillea wickhamii and yellowy/pink of the Acacia inaequilatera in full flower was awesome.
In total, we found eight Priority Flora Taxa, including Priority 4 Acacia bromilowiana and Priority 4 Sida sp. Barlee Range. Both Priority species love steep cliffs, and I can safely say that we all came back with much thicker thighs! A lot of the hiking was up-hill, and we all ate a load of ice cream to compensate for all the exercise we were doing! All in all, it was an awesome week of field work spent with great people!