Frances Bodkin is an Australian botanist and D’harawal elder. She is the author of Encyclopaedia Botanica: The Essential Reference Guide to Native and Exotic Plants in Australia; the Dharwal Pharmacopeia and D’harawal Seasons and Climatic Cycles. In the 1970s she helped establish the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan near Sydney at a former meeting site of Indigenous people.
In ConversationThere’s so much we can learn from the plants, even the little annual plants, and we don’t take notice of them. Gymea lily flowers can tell you when the whales are coming. One of the things I’ve investigated is why the ants can tell the weather – I carried out an experiment when I was at Macquarie University, and what I found was that if the groundwater level rises, you can expect rain, and the ants will pick this up.