Tarin Rock Nature Reserve Flora Survey

ONLINE May General Meeting

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we used Google Meet in place of the May physical meeting. Google Meet is a video conferencing app that integrates with G Suite ( a suite of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools) used by the Club. About 25 members logged in without much trouble, ably helped by John Abbott, and our president Jolanda Keeble introduced the meeting. However, there were technical problems that prevented our speaker Bronwen Keighery from presenting her talk. Instead, Jolanda presented a short talk on her flora survey at Tarin Rock. Bronwen’s talk on the Brixton Wetlands will be presented at a later date. Jolanda’s talk is summarised here:

Tarin Rock is a 2000 ha flora reserve near Lake Grace, in the Wheatbelt, about four hours’ drive south-east of Perth. Jolanda has included in her survey an adjoining water reserve to the south of the flora reserve. The area is about 400m above sea level, and the soil varies from laterite, sand and conglomerate to clay-loam, and there are some winter-wet areas. Its average annual rainfall is 350mm. The 25 species of eucalypt in the reserve include Brown Mallet (Eucalyptus longicornis) and Silver Mallet (E. falcata.) The Compass Bush (Allocasuarina pinaster), with its unusual directional growth, is found in the nature reserve. Some species are fire-dependent. The latest fire was in 2004, and evidence of fire is only seen in a few places.

Before her survey, Jolanda used FloraBase and NatureMap to make a list of all flora likely to be found in the area. Then she used the pictures and descriptions as “cheat sheets” to help identify the plants in the field. Her pressed-plant collection, photographs and notes are carefully numbered. She has identified more than 500 species in the two reserves, including 37 DRF (Declared Rare Flora) species. She spends three to six days a month, depending on the season, working at the reserve, moving in from firebreaks and the railway reserve. Jolanda says there is always something in flower there at any time of the year. The dam in the water reserve is a good place for her to relax and escape from the heat in summer.

Mike Gregson