Territory Stories

Katherine rural review



Katherine rural review


Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries


Katherine rural review; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Katherine rural review






Date:2012-11; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Agriculture; Northern Territory; Katherine; Periodicals; Animal industry; Rural industries; Periodicals

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Northern Territory Government

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Katherine rural review


no. 311

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Northern Territory Government



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Page 7 of 20 Katherine Rural Review, Issue 311 Rubber Bush (Calotropis procera) Project Despite Rubberbush becoming widespread across northern Australia, relatively little is known about this weed. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has recently provided funding for a research project to measure the plants invasive potential, improve control options and minimise future impacts on the grazing industry. This project is being tackled jointly by Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF), Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM), Queenslands Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Barkly Landcare and Conservation Association (BLCA) The main focus is on the northern Barkly where Rubberbush has spread greatly in recent years. A series of sites have been set up at Helen Springs Station by the Weed Management Branch and CDU to study how the species invades grazing lands and the conditions that favour establishment, answering questions such as how many seeds are produced and what triggers seeding. Meanwhile in Queensland, DAFF are investigating control techniques with the aim of identifying more economical and effective solutions. Two students from CDU are completing their honours degrees by researching aspects of this project under the supervision of Professor Michael Lawes (CDU) and Dr Cameron McConchie (DPIF). Mr Enock Menge is studying the plants invasiveness at Helen Springs Station, while at Katherine Research Station Ms Michele Greenfield is actively investigating the plants reproductive biology and breeding system. Michele has prepared this explanation of her project: In order to manage C. procera it is important to understand the reproductive biology and its breeding system. The field work at KRS involves a number of experiments, with the last few months investigating the breeding system and pollinator assemblages. It was originally thought that due to the complex flower morphology and specialised pollination system that the breeding system would be outcrossing, although being a weed suggests the opposite as many weeds are selfcompatible, giving them a far greater advantage to spread and become invasive. However, the specialised pollination system suggests to the contrary as it requires a robust insect to remove the pollen from the anther sac, place it in the correct position aligning it into the stigmatic slit whilst foraging for nectar. The field work has found that the primary pollinators at KRS have been carpenter bees (Xylocopa aruana) and results have shown that C. procera is self-compatible. The field experiments at KRS will run until December 2012, with further wet season experiments planned for Helen Springs Station. It is hoped that the information gained from this research will greatly add to the limited knowledge of C. procera and help in developing a sound weed control and management plan for the species. Further details of this project can be obtained from the Department of Land Resource Management, Weed Management Branch, Telephone 89738857 in Katherine or 89994567 in Darwin. Photo 2: Michele Greenfield working in the laboratory examining the reproductive biology of the Rubber bush flower. Photo 1: Here are pollination bags in place to prevent flowers from cross pollinating in Michele Greenfields trial at Katherine Research Station.

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