Glossary of important keywords

The number of individual plants, plant stems or ramets.
Australasian Virtual Herbarium
An online record of plant specimen data from Australian and New Zealand herbaria
The tallest layer of vegetation, the tree layer.
Climate events such as droughts and floods can disturb or threaten plant populations.
The geodetic reference system for geographic data. WGS84 is commonly used around the world.
Many different diseases affect plant populations. Some diseases affect many plants in an area, e.g. root rot from the soil-borne water mold *Phytophthora cinnamomi*. Other diseases only affect particular plant groups, e.g. the fungus Myrtle Rust only affects plants in the Myrtaceae family.
Any change in environment that causes a change in an ecosystem, positive or negative.
Metres above sea level.
Large movements of soil or sediment. Erosion can threaten plants by removing soil from beneath plants or by depositing soil on top of plants.
Feral animal
In Australia deer, goats, horses, pigs, water buffalo, rabbits, foxes, camels, cats and cane toads are feral animals. Feral animals threaten plants by eating, trampling or digging them up.
Fire interval
How many years are usually between fires.
Fire severity
How much vegetation was burnt in the last fire. Defined by how much of the understorey and canopy was burnt or scorched.
The part of the plant that holds the seed, may be fleshy or woody.
The environment in which a plant grows.
A collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data.
Feeding on living plant parts by animals including insects. Herbivory is a natural ecosystem process but can threaten plant populations when it is excessive.
Human impacts
Humans can threaten plant populations in many ways. Direct human impacts include clearing vegetation, building tracks, trampling or collecting plants.
A mobile app and website (<>) for recording species sightings. Upload photos of an organism with location data and the community will help you to identify it. Researchers use iNaturalist data and sightings go to the Atlas of Living Australia.
The most reliable way to identify a species. Keys focus on the important features to separate one species from another. Keys can use technical language and take practice to use, but are the best way to be sure what species you’re looking at.
Natural features of the land surface, e.g. ridge, river flat, rise, depression.
The geographic coordinates of a location measured in angles. In Australia latitude ranges from -10 in far north Queensland to -43 in south Tasmania. Longitude ranges from 113 in Western Australia to 154 in eastern Australia.
Leave No Trace
There are seven principles to Leave No Trace in natural areas. Read more about them at
Some plants can look very similar when in fact they are not related. It always pays to double check your plant identification to avoid mistaking lookalikes.
Any animal that moves pollen from one flower to another flower of the same plant. Common pollinators include bees, flies, beetles and birds. Pollinators must make contact with the reproductive parts of the flower (anthers and stigma) to pollinate.
A group of individuals of the same species growing in the same area.
An individual of a clone.
The people recording survey data.
To grow or shoot again after fire or other injury has damaged the plant. Plants can resprout from underground, basal, stem (epicormic) or apical parts.
Scientific name
The name used by scientists for a species, written Genus species. Check what scientific plant names are currently accepted in Australia via the Australian Plant Census (APC):
Discoloured or damaged from fire but not consumed.
A young plant grown from seed.
The land holder or manager. Can include National Parks, local council, private landholders.
Threatened species
Any species which is Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. State and federal scientific committees determine whether a species is threatened.
Any vegetation growing beneath the canopy. Includes the ground layer, shrubs and small trees.
Vegetative reproduction
Spreading clonally, for example by underground stems, runners or suckers.
Exotic plants that spread in the environment and negatively impact native plants or animals. Weeds threaten native plants by outcompeting them or changing their habitat.