Plant of the Month — November 2013
Acacia gibsonii Maslin
Acacia gibsonii is a new species with distinctively short, 3-nerved phyllodes and short spikes, having affinity to A. incongesta R.S.Cowan & Maslin. The species is known from a geographically very restricted area of greenstone hills between Norseman and Hyden. It was previously listed under the phrase name, Acacia sp. Lake Johnson (N. Gibson & M. Lyons 1959), and is a Priority One taxon under the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora.
This species is locally common (many thousands of plants) where it occurs; however, it has a very restricted distribution that is outside the conservation estate. It occurs on two adjacent hills within the Lake Johnston Greenstone Belt - an extensive belt of greenstone that extends c. 50 km from Round Top Hill (120 km E of Norseman) south-east to the Bremer Range (100 km SW of Norseman). This greenstone belt is comprised of series of highly metamorphosed igneous and sedimentary sequences.
The botanical name honours Dr Neil Gibson, Principal Research Scientist with the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Neil co-discovered (with Michael Lyons) this species in September 1994. Neil has been involved in extensive floristic surveys in south-west Western Australia, with a particular emphasis on the Swan Coastal Plain, wheatbelt and the greenstone and banded ironstone ranges of the Yilgarn. He was also involved in a floristic survey of the Pilbara region and has made a significant contribution to botanical history through his translation of the seminal work by L. Diels and E. Pritzel on the biogeography of Western Australia.
Acacia gibsonii was recently described by Bruce Maslin in our journal Nuytsia, from which much of this text is transcribed. This revision includes a detailed taxonomic description, discussion of affinities and an image of the holotype specimen.
Photo: B.R. Maslin
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