PRESIDENT'S REPORT 1991


This is my final report as President of the Foundation. I have now been President for three years and I am no longer active in research work although, of course, I still maintain a keen interest in Australian native plants.

I have always considered that at this phase in the development of the Foundation the President should be actively engaged in growing plants or researching them.

The achievements of the past three years have been considerable and we have established the Foundation as a reputable funding body. It is to the Board's credit that the Foundation has now established good relations with its main donors, i.e., members and Regions of SGAP. We have funded a number of worthwhile projects, some related directly to problems of growing various native plant species and some related to conservation problems.

Last year the Directors decided to consolidate the research program after the withdrawal of Dr Taji from the Conospermum program. Dr. McGee's work on Thysanotus was continued thanks to finance provided by SGAP Queensland Region and the Foundation was able to activate Prof. Ashford's project on the mycorrhiza of Epacridaceae using finance supplied by SGAP North Shore Group.

One of the most satisfying features of our activities in the last two years has been the involvement of SGAP Regions and Local Groups. Apart from the two mentioned above, SGAP NSW Region donated a large sum to our research program without specifying a project and other Regions and Groups, too numerous to mention here, but nevertheless just as appreciated, have donated smaller sums. SGAP SA Region, together with SGAP NSW Region, funded the Conospermum program last year and provided a valuable critique of the results.

During my time as President, the Foundation developed the concept of a preferred research program. Despite the disappointing results of the Conospermum project, I think this concept has been successful. The small amounts of finance which we can supply can only test and develop ideas. Further funding is necessary to develop these into final propositions. The various projects in the Fungal Connection program have progressed very well in this direction. New forms of symbionts have been discovered, ideas on the transfer of nutrients between higher plants via fungal connections have been developed, and the structural relationships between epacrid fungal associations have been investigated. In this program in particular, our money has been well spent. This year we have decided to prefer projects relating to the Fungal Connection, Persoonia propagation and the propagation and cultivation of Everlasting Daisies (Asteraceae-Inuleae). The Persoonia program arose from a suggestion made by SGAP NSW Region and the Inuleae program arose out of an enquiry from the Daisy study group of SGAP. I hope that suggestions made by such groups will have an even more significant influence in the future.

The 1992 research program, developed by the Foundation on the basis of proposals received by us, is an interesting and significant one. Dr. Gorst of The University of Tasmania is examining the micropropagation potential of Persoonia spp., in particular a rare Tasmanian species, but, at the suggestion of the Foundation, she hopes to include some Western Australian species in her investigations. Dr. Sharman of Queensland Dept. of Primary Industries is setting up a collection of Helichrysum and Helipterum species so that their horticultural potential can be assessed. It is interesting to remember that the Foundation financed a similar collection of Helichrysum diosmifolium, on a smaller scale, some time ago and that collection has provided the basis for the development of the species as a commercial horticultural plant as reported recently in Australian Horticulture. Ms. Ireland of Adelaide University is to investigate the reasons why the Western Myall shows such poor regeneration throughout its range, and Mr. Tester of Adelaide University is researching the fungal connections of a Salt Bush and a Screw Grass in the semi-arid areas.

The program shows a balance between problems which growers would like solved and problems relating to the conservation of the native flora

ROGER CAROLIN
President

DIRECTORS
Roger Carolin B.Sc., Ph.D., F.L.S. (President) (Botanical Consultant)
Malcolm Reed B.Sc. Agr., Ph.D. (Vice President) (Senior-Lecturer, Macquarie University)
Janice Hughes (Treasurer)
Neville Marchant B.Sc., Ph.D. (Botanist, Western Australian Herbarium)
Peter McGee B. Ag.Sc., Ph.D. (Lecturer, University of Sydney)
David Murray B.Sc., Ph.D., M.A.I.Biol., F.L.S. (Author and Consultant)
William Payne (Managing Director, Australian Plants)
Hugh Stacey B.E., M.I.E.Aust. (Company Director)
Benjamin Wallace B.Sc., Ph.D. (Assistant Director, Australian National Botanic Gardens)
Richard Williams B.Ag.Sc., Ph.D. (Senior Lecturer, University of New England)
John Wrigley A.M., B.Sc., F.R.A.I.P. (Horticultural Consultant)

SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
Richard Williams B.Ag.Sc., Ph.D. (Chairperson) (University of New England)
Jim Armstrong B.Sc.Agr. (Curator, Western Australian Herbarium)
Prof. C.T.Clifford B.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc., F.L.S. (University of Queensland)
Prof. Bruce Knox B.Sc., D.Phil. (Professor of Botany, University of Melbourne)
Peter McGee B. Ag.Sc., Ph.D. (Lecturer, University of Sydney)

HONORARY AUDITOR Peter Kellaway F C A