Plants of Outback South Australia

News article |

The long-awaited second edition of the popular field guide Plants of Outback South Australia is now available.

The 320-page publication is in a similar format to the original book, but now features 356 plants, including 10 new species, with updated photos taken in the field throughout the SA outback for easy identification. The text has been completely revised and all plant names were updated.

Plants considered important for their pastoral or horticultural value or conservation status are assigned a whole page, while other species have received a shorter treatment.

The idea for the book developed out of a field guide prepared by the Marree District Soil Conservation Board in the mid 1990s. It featured plants of their district, so pastoral lessees and their managers could become familiar with the flora on their properties. At the time, staff of the Pastoral Board were undertaking lease assessments using interstate field guides, as South Australia was the only state without one specific to the arid rangelands.

In the late nineties, the then Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation received Commonwealth funding to produce a durable field guide to plants of the SA rangelands. Pastoral Board staff were assigned to produce the text and take photos.

The plants included in the book were selected from a wide range of suggestions. However such a publication could only ever include the more common or interesting species rather than be a complete flora of the region, in order to keep it small enough to be practical for field use. Descriptions were kept non-scientific, where possible, so the book could be of interest to everyone working or travelling in the region.

The first edition was authored by Frank Kutsche and Brendan Lay and published by the Department’s Pastoral Program. The second edition was revised and edited by Tim Croft and Jürgen Kellermann from the State Herbarium of South Australia and is published by the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium.

Copies of the book are available from the Openbook Howden online bookshop ( for $44 plus postage. Some retail shops in Adelaide and the SA Arid Lands region will also stock the book.

More stories

  1. Idnya establishing at Arkaba

    News article | 28 May 2024
  2. Wildu's lesson of respect

    News article | 28 May 2024
  3. SA landscape boards selected as regional delivery partners for Australian Government agencies

    News article | 17 May 2024