Which species can you grow in your backyard?
You can grow most of the world’s plant species under your own garden but some are not allowed, a new report warns.
Key points:The report finds there are no plants of the plant family, ‘parasitic’ or ‘micro-fungi’ in AustraliaThe report warns that while Australia has strict plant regulations, many plants are not protected under the country’s Plant Health ActThe report comes as Queensland grapples with the fallout from a series of coronavirus outbreaks and droughtThe report is based on more than 100 interviews, with more than 70% of respondents saying that some plants, like citrus and apple trees, were not protected by the Australian Plant Health (APHA) Act.
“There’s no plant that is considered a micro-fumigant and therefore has to be monitored by APHA,” senior ecologist and author Dr Amy McLean said.
“It’s a fairly broad category of plants that are not necessarily going to be regulated under the Act.”
The APHA Act is a federal law that applies to almost all species in the world, including most types of fungi.
However, it applies only to plants that have been commercially grown for commercial purposes.
So while the APHA covers some plant species, like wild strawberry, it doesn’t cover other types of plants like fruit trees, orchids and flowers.
Dr McLean has compiled a list of the most common micro- and parasitoid-causing fungi in Australia, which include:* Beryllium, a form of fungal life that can cause severe diseases, including severe, and often fatal, necrotizing fasciitis and death* Chlorophyll-containing fungi, which can be harmful and can cause skin and respiratory problems* Chitin-containing mushrooms, which are found in fruits, nuts, vegetables and in seaweed* Cystidia, which produce blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of blackheads* Cytospora, a fungus found in mushrooms, is associated with lung disease and infection* Cryptococcus, which is found in honey and in dairy products, including milk, cream, and yogurt* Cryptosporidium, which was previously classified as a pathogen, is commonly found in foodstuffs, including fruits and nuts and in animal products such as beef and chicken* Fungi that are classified as protozoa, which contain the bacterium that causes the skin infections in humans, and in fish, including sea bass, sardines, catfish, swordfish, mackerel, and tuna* Mucuna platensis, which has been identified as a ‘superpathogen’, which is often found in fruit trees and can be dangerous to humans* Rhizopus, which grows on the roots of many plants and is also known as the black knot fungus, can cause infections like cystic fibrosis* Spirochaete, which also causes skin infections like dermatitis and eczema and can affect the eyes, nose and throatThe report, published in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at a wide range of plant species that are found around Australia, including tropical fruit trees like tropical figs, black figs and tropical papayas, and some invasive species like the African mongoose (Mongoose berghei) and the black rat snake (Sarcoptes capitata).
It found that most plants are protected under some laws in Australia that have specific protections for some types of species.
“Most of these plants are covered under the APHAs Plant Health and Safety Act and Plant Health Protection Act, both of which cover some species of fungi, and they are the main types of plant protection that Australia has,” Dr McLean explained.
“So if you have some plants that you don’t want to grow, there are some protections that you can apply.”‘
We need to understand what we are doing’It is difficult to identify and quantify the amount of risk posed by plants and fungi because there are a lot of variables in how they respond to the environment.
Dr Jonathan O’Neill, from the University of Sydney’s School of Life Sciences, said there was a misconception that there were no plant species of any particular concern.
“Many people have a false sense that plants don’t do anything,” he said.
The report also found that there was “huge variability” in the extent to which plants are being regulated under APHA laws, which may make it difficult to assess whether or not a plant or fungus poses a health risk.
“When you are looking at species that you have identified as potentially dangerous, you need to look at how many of those plants are actually regulated under any particular law and then look at the data that is available, because it’s difficult to do that with just one or two plants,” Dr O’Neil said.
He said the lack of data could also limit the potential for action.”In the