Climate and Landforms
Gluepot’s climate is relatively dry. Average rainfall around 200 – 250 mm and is characterised usually by short wet winters (April – August) followed by long hot dry summers. The dominant land forms are a dune/swale system – low east west “red” sand dunes with heavier clay soils in the swales between the dunes. This system is a legacy of a drier Geological time when the dunes were mobile. Dunes on Gluepot are now all vegetated. There are also areas of heavier clay soils which can become boggy after significant rain. (significant on Gluepot is anything above 25mm rain.) These clay areas were often chosen by early settlers as sites for dams as the clay soils often held water better than sandier soils, and the two homestead sites on Gluepot are in areas such as these. Hence the name “Gluepot”. The entire Reserve is underlain by extensive limestone layers, a legacy of past Geological times when the area was under shallow seas. Soils are generally alkaline.
Vegetation on Gluepot varies according to soil types. However, the dominant vegetation on Gluepot consists of mallee woodlands. Mallee is a relatively small (up to 7 m) multi-stemmed eucalypt. The word “Mallee” is believed to be of Indigenous derivation probably from Western Victoria and has been taken from the Indigenous name for this type of eucalypt. Mallee is characterised by its lack of a main trunk and large underground lignotuber or “mallee root”. Mallee trees do not start out with many stems. The multi-stemmed characteristic usually results from fire or physical damage. Mallee has relatively thin bark so stems are often killed by fire. As a result it generally sends up multiple shoots from the lignotuber after fire. After time, two to a dozen stems dominate giving rise to the multi-stemmed appearance. Mallees on Gluepot have a relatively large lignotuber for their size making the species very drought tolerant. Some mallee lignotubers have weighed in at over a tonne. The species is generally slow growing and the wood hard. It was used extensively by early settlers for firewood. There are six major species of mallee on Gluepot.
Yorrell (Eucalyptus gracilis)
Oily mallee (Eucalyptus oleosa)
Water mallee (Eucalyptus Dumosa)
Pointed mallee (Eucalyptus socialis)
Narrow leaved mallee (Eucalyptus leptophylla
Ridge-fruited mallee (Eucalyptus incrassata)
Much of Gluepot’s understory is dominated by Chenopods. These are generally drought tolerant bushy plants containing a number of genera or groups including salt bushes, (Atriplex) blue bushes (Maireana) and copper burrs (Sclerolaena). They get their name because “Cheno” means “goose” in Greek and “pod” means “foot’. The sometimes triangular leaves reminded early Botanists of the feet of geese. There are many Chenopods on Gluepot (see plant list).
There are three main vegetation types.
Mallee Woodlands with understory dependant on the soil type
Black Oak (Casuarina pauper) Woodlands
Open Shrubland, usually around major dams.
Mallee Woodlands consist generally of two types. On the sand dunes and sandy rises: four major mallees, water mallee (Eucalyptus Dumosa), pointed mallee (Eucalyptus socialis), narrow leaved mallee (Eucalyptus leptophylla) and ridge-fruited mallee (Eucalyptus incrassata,) with an understory dominated by spinifex (Triodia scariosa). Other understorey species include pale turpentine bush (Beyeria leschanaultia), Thick-leaved eremophila (eremophila crassifolia) and sandhill grevillea (Grevillea pterosperma), plus a number of acacias but few chenopods.
Another major mallee vegetation unit occurs on heavier sandy loam soils. Frequently acorn or oily mallee (Eucalypyus oleosa,) yorrell (Eucalyptus gracilis) with an understorey of pearl bluebush (Maireana sedifolia) Other mallee woodlands have an understorey of sennas, Wait-a-while (Acacia colletioides) Comb grevillea (Grevillea huegelii) various copper burrs (Scleroleana spp), and various species of twinleaf (Zygophyllum spp) and bluebush (Maireana spp
Black oak (Casuarina pauper) woodland occurs mainly in the north and west of Gluepot Reserve. This low woodland is characterised by denser Black oak stands with individual trees generally being a slender upright shape. The understorey is more open, comprising mainly ruby saltbush,(Enchylaena tomentose), pearl bluebush (Maireanba sedifolia), daisy bushes (Olearias) Sennas, and various other shrubs. Where this woodland is more open, other tree species are common, particularly bullock bush (alectryon oleofolius), and Sugarwood (Myoporum platycarpum).
Open Shrubland usually around major dams has resulted from extensive grazing by sheep and is dominated by low growing chenopods and introduced weeds, largely wild sage (Salvia verbenaca), with some horehound (Marrubium vulgare). An extensive weed control program over the years has greatly reduced the incidence of introduced weeds and resulted in regrowth of native vegetation largely chenopods and sennas in these areas.
A substantial amount of vegetation survey and plant recording has been completed at Gluepot. This is a continuous process.
Nearly 300 species of vascular plants have been recorded at Gluepot so far. Of these approximately 240 are native and 35 introduced. The numbers are very fluid because new species are steadily being collected, and some of the previously-reported species have been discounted after further searching or incorrect use of names. Of the cryptogams, 45 Lichen species have been recorded and vouchered, but no Fungi, Liverworts or Mosses have yet been collected and identified. A plant list Alphabetic by Genus is available at the Reserve Visitor’s Centre and can be downloaded here.
Approximately half of the vascular plant species have been vouchered and lodged at the State Herbarium of South Australia. The Lichen vouchers are at the National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.
A reference herbarium is being compiled at Gluepot and presently contains about half of the recorded species mounted in A4 format in reference binders. Numerous plant survey sites have been recorded on Gluepot in the past. Reports are lodged in the Gluepot Library.