Acacia farnesiana in southern Europe

by Priya Rangan

Acacia farnesiana, a plant native to Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, had already arrived in Australia prior to British settlement of the continent. How did it get there? We thought it might have been via the Portuguese, who may have brought the plant to southern Europe and then spread it to their trading forts and settlements in Asia. Manuel decided to pursue his doctoral studies in Geography and Spatial Planning (CEGOT), at the University of Porto, and focus his thesis on the history of how A. farnesiana arrived in southern Europe. See the outline of his research presentation at the 4th International Symposium on Weeds and Invasive Plants held in May 2014 at Montpellier, France.

We were recently on air!

by Priya Rangan

On Thursday 16 October, Tom and I were interviewed by Vanessa Mills, the radio program host of Mornings on ABC Kimberley. During the 15 minute interview, we chatted with Vanessa about our research project on indigenous cultural perspectives regarding unwanted plants in their landscapes. She was particularly interested in the team’s recent research visit to a field site in southern India, and in Tom’s doctoral research project on indigenous weed management with Aboriginal ranger groups in the West Kimberley.

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Floral battles: past and present

by Priya Rangan

As children growing up in Dehra Dun several decades before it became the capital of the state of Uttarakhand in the western Indian Himalayas, we spent a fair amount of time playing outdoors. It was a small town at the time, so there was plenty of outdoors, open space with some variety of vegetation, home gardens or, if you ventured a little further out, farm plots. Most afternoons, we’d spend time rushing about in the playground, and when tiring of it, wander along the canals and by-lanes in the neighbourhood, chattering away. Sometimes, as we walked along lanes lined with lantana hedges, we’d pluck a whole lot of flowers, pull the little florettes off the flower-heads and throw these at each other. As far as we knew, that’s what lantana was for, spontaneous floral confetti battles.

Seeing lantana in BRT Hills Reserve areas during our recent field visit brought back these childhood memories. Continue reading