by Rhondda Alexander
Reviewed by Don Lawie
There are 324 pages, with large, clear colour illustrations to facilitate plant I.D. Each plant entry gives the common name, botanical name and Family, plant description including leaves, flowers, fruit and flowering time, habitat, and a clear, easily recognisable photo of the plant. Also included, with the expected uptake by pastoralists, are notes on stock palatability, nutrition and reported toxicity. General notes are given for each plant, and introduced, poisonous and Nationally Significant Weed species are clearly tagged.
Again to aid plant ID, the book is divided into six sections: Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, Sedges, Forbs and Mistletoes. There is a comprehensive bibliography and a glossary to aid those unfamiliar with the unavoidable technical terms. A Region Map indicates the area of study and this is complemented by a series of illustrated descriptions of the various land types to be found in the Channel Country to give a clue as to the plant types to be expected in each area.
Plants in each section are listed in alphabetical order of botanical name. There is a complete index with both botanical and common names so that any plant whose name is known (or can be guessed at) is easily found in the body of the book.
The author is Rhondda Alexander, who has spent most of her life in the Channel Country. Rhondda has collaborated to some extent with Jenny Milsom, and this book is the same size and an ideal companion to Jenny’s “Trees and Shrubs of North-West Queensland”.
In the section on forbs, Rhondda writes that the ability to identify plants will help in the management and protection of native plants against the introduction of potential weeds or of poor grazing practices. Rhondda also gives a short history of the Channel Landcare Group and the restorative work they are doing.
This book is a mine of information about plants that are generally not seen, but is nonetheless of much interest. For those who may travel to the area, it would be an indispensable companion, making identification of plants and consequent understanding of the area a feature of the journey.
As I write the Channel area is experiencing heavy rain and flooding; it will be a wonderland of wild plants over the next few months, a botanically-fascinating place to visit.
Price: $20.00 + postage $10.00
18 Currimundi Road
Currimundi Qld 4551
Phone: 07 5437 6481
PO Box 163
Winton Qld 4735
Phone: 07 4657 1881