Pultenaea is a genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae that are native to Australia. They are commonly known as Bush-peas. Pultenaea contains 126 species, all of which only occur in Australia1. Between 1920 and 1928 Williamson published a five-part series entitled, ‘A Revision of the Genus Pultenaea’ in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria2.
During this period Williamson, alongside colleagues from the Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria, also worked on the greatly anticipated publication of ‘A Census of the Plants of Victoria’ parts I3 and II4. Williamson was credited for his contributions to A.J. Ewart’s ‘Flora of Victoria’5, where he was acknowledged as ‘providing the account of the whole of the Leguminosae’ and for partial revision of the manuscript and proofs for the book.
Above left: Williamson’s reports featured in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria from 1920 to 1928. Right: Williamson was a skilled botanical illustrator and provided the line drawings that featured alongside species descriptions, for example, these illustrations, featured in the taxonomic revision of Victorian Pultenaea6.
Description of Pultenaea maidenii (far left) written by H.B. Williamson in 1904, which accompanies the holotype specimen that he collected, accessioned at the National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL0627535A). Specimen image courtesy of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Board 8. P. maidenii herbarium specimen collected by H.B. Williamson in 1906 accessioned at the University of Melbourne Herbarium (MELUD014156a)(right).
Examples of rare species of Pultenaea found in various regions in Victoria. These are just a few of the many species described by or named in honour of H.B. Williamson.
Ferns of Victoria
Williamson is best remembered for his work with the genus Pultenaea; however, he contributed many more publications to scientific literature, with reports including ‘The Aquatic Plants of Victoria’9, The Clubmosses’10, ‘The Lilies of Victoria’11 and his report describing Victorian Alpine flora in ‘A Trip to the Bogong High Plains’12. Another example of his vast knowledge of Victorian flora can be seen in his work ‘Victorian Ferns’13. This detailed monograph of Victorian Ferns (right) was released by H.B. in 1926 and was originally published as a four-part report in the Victorian Naturalist.
Fern specimens collected by Williamson were gifted to the Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria along with other national and international herbaria.
Above: Williamson’s treatment of Victorian Ferns, published by The Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria in 192613. Many of Williamson’s line drawings of ferns, such as that shown, were also used in treatments of Victorian ferns published by The Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria.
Above left: ‘Victorian Ferns’ by R.W. Bond and C. Barrett published by The Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria in 193414. Source: State Library of Victoria (accessed at slv.vic.gov.au, 19 April 2021). Above right: Line drawing by H.B. Williamson from ‘Ferns of Victoria and Tasmania’ by N.A. Wakefield, published by The Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria in 1975, p. 63.
Subsequent treatments of Victorian and Tasmanian Ferns were published by the Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria (193414, 195515, and 197516) that drew on Williamson’s descriptions and sets of his original line drawings from his 1926 articles were featured throughout all three publications.
The book entitled ‘Victorian Ferns’ authored by Charles Barrett and Richard Bond14 included this dedication:
To the memory of
Botanist and Nature Lover
Whose work will Endure¹4
1. VicFlora Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Pultenaea Sm. [Internet]. South Yarra (Victoria): Flora of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria; 2016 [updated 2019 Apr 8; cited 2021 Apr 8]. Available from: https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/9ef5ba10-f428-47f6-828a-435492f0e196
2. Williamson HB. A revision of the genus Pultenaea. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. 1920–1928.
3. Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. A census of the plants of Victoria: with their regional distributions and vernacular names. Melbourne, Victoria: The Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1923.
4. Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. A census of the plants of Victoria. 2nd ed. Melbourne, Victoria: The Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1928.
5. Ewart AJ. Flora of Victoria. Melbourne, Victoria: Government Printer for the University Press; 1930.
6. Williamson HB. A revision of the genus Pultenaea, part II. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. 1921;33:133–48; plate VII.
7. Corrick MG. Bush-peas of Victoria — genus Pultenaea Sm. (Fabaceae). The Victorian Naturalist. 1987;104:64–68.
8. National Herbarium of Victoria. Pultenaea maidenii Reader (MEL0627535A) [Internet]. Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria; 2016 [cited 2021 June 22]. Available from: https://images.ala.org.au/image/viewer?imageId=a85a7405-266b-4ea8-803d-43009a91760c
9. Williamson HB. The aquatic plants of Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist. 1928;44:240–47.
10. Williamson HB. The clubmosses of Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist. 1927;44:222–28.
11. Williamson HB. The lilies of Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist. 1928;45.
12. Williamson HB. A trip to the Bogong High Plains. The Victorian Naturalist. 1923;22:58–61.
13. Williamson HB. Victorian Ferns: The Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1926.
14. Bond RW, Barrett C. Victorian ferns: descriptions of all the species occurring in the state. Victoria: Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1934.
15. Wakefield NA. Ferns of Victoria and Tasmania: with descriptive notes and illustrations of the native species. Melbourne, Victoria: Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1955.
16. Wakefield NA. Ferns of Victoria and Tasmania: with descriptive notes and illustrations of the 119 native species. Revised ed. South Yarra, Victoria: Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1975.
17. Bond RW, Barrett C. Dedication. Victorian ferns: descriptions of all the species occurring in the state. The Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria; 1934. p. 2.