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This disastrous event staggered me : reconstructing the botany of Ludwig Leichhardt on the expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, 1844-45

By R.J. Fensham, A.R. Bean, J.L. Dowe and C.R. Dunlop


Ludwig Leichhardt had to abandon a large and important collection of botanical specimens during his Expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington. Here we attempt to assess the significance of the lost collection by identifying the botanical references in his detailed published journal from the journey. From Leichhardt’s description of the plants and their habitats, and with our accurate knowledge of current distribution, it has been possible, in most cases, to identity his botanical references to a single species. In other cases there is lower degree of certainty. Well over one hundred of the species recorded in Leichhardt’s journal would have been new to science at the time if specimens had survived. The record does identify some potential locations for species that would represent range extensions and suggests an indigenous status for a number of plant species that where previously considered exotic. Certainly Leichhardt was a talented botanist and his significant contribution to Australian natural science should be recognised

Topics: ddc:580
Year: 2013
OAI identifier:

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