Extracted from the Director of National Parks Annual Report 2008 - 2009

Australian National Botanic Gardens


Special features

The Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) is a major scientific, educational and recreational resource. It was one of the first botanic gardens in the world to adopt the study and display of a nation’s native species as a principal goal. Approximately one-third of the known flowering plant species that occur in Australia and about half the known eucalypt species are represented in its living collection. The ANBG is a national showcase for the horticultural use of Australia’s native plants. It is a partner in the Australian National Herbarium which is the world's most comprehensive collection of Australian plant specimens and which underpins the scientific identification of native plants.
The ANBG contributes to meeting Australia’s obligations under international environment conventions to which Australia is a signatory. In particular, the Convention on
Biological Diversity recognises the importance of botanic gardens in ex situ and in situ conservation, research,
training, plant identification and monitoring, raising public awareness, providing access to genetic resources, and
global cooperation in the sustainable use of plant biodiversity. The ANBG provides expert participation and
contributes scientific data to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and other international biodiversity


Latitude 35°16’ South, Longitude 149°06’ East


85 hectares

Proclamation date

17 September 1991

IUCN category

Category IV

Biogeographic context

Displays plants from a vast range of biogeographic regions—alpine to tropical, coastal to central desert

Management plan

Second management plan expired 9 January 2009. The third management plan (2009–2019) is currently being developed

Other significant management documents

Risk Assessment and Management Schedule; ANBG Masterplan (National Capital Authority); ANBG Fire Procedures 2008; Agreement for the Establishment and Operation of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research (CPBR) between the Director of National Parks and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); CPBR Strategic Plan



$9.562 million
$0.567 million
$0.825 million


413,170 to site
104,195 to visitor centre

Living plants

Planted in 2008–09: 5,590
Total number of taxa in the living collection: 6,170
Total number of registered plants in the living collection: 73,695

Herbarium specimens

Specimen records added to database in 2008–09: 19,223
Specimen records in database: 815,841
Total number of specimens in collection: approximately 1.2 million

Australian Plant Name Index

Names added to APNI database in 2008–09: 18,866
Total names in APNI database: 207,798

Australian Plant Census

Names added to APC database in 2008–09: 8,439
Total names in APC database: 43,342

Australian Plant Image Index

Images added in 2008–09: 4,592
Total number of images in collection: 57,298


4 commercial activity permits; 32 wedding or wedding photography licences; 85 licences to publish 594 photographs from the collection; 15 research permits

International conventions and agreements

World Heritage Convention

Supports Australia’s World Heritage sites through botanical research, scientific plant collections, plant identification, botanical information management, and horticultural and educational programs

Wetlands (Ramsar) Convention

Supports Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention through access to plant identification services and data on aquatic plants in the Australian National Herbarium, and by delivering information on Australia’s aquatic plants through its website

Other agreements

Collaborates with international organisations including:
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
International Association of Plant Taxonomists
International Plant Propagators Society
International Union of Biological Sciences Taxonomic Databases Working Group
International Plant Name Index (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Harvard University)
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
International Organisation for Plant Information World Vascular Plant Checklist Project
Species 2000
Millennium Seed Bank Project
American Public Gardens Association
Global Partnership for Plant Conservation

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999


On Commonwealth Heritage List

Management arrangements

The ANBG is managed by a Director appointed by the Director of National Parks. Since 1993 the ANBG has been involved in a joint research venture with CSIRO Plant Industry, the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research which houses and manages the Australian National Herbarium. The herbarium retains voucher specimens for research and environmental studies and for plants at the ANBG.

Future challenges

Major challenges are:

Report on performance by key result areas

KRA1: Natural heritage management

Major issues


Performance results 2008–09

KRA4: Visitor management and reserve use

Major issues


Performance results 2008–09

KRA5: Stakeholders and partnerships

Major issues


Performance results 2008–09

KRA6: Business management

Major issues


Performance results 2008–09

KRA7: Biodiversity knowledge management

Major issues


Performance results 2008–09


Alpine seed research project tackles climate change in the Australian Alps

The Australian Alps is one of the most plant-rich areas in Australia and its fragile ecology is among the most vulnerable to a changing climate. The Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) has recently entered into a three year research partnership to investigate how climate change will affect the reproductive ecology and demography of Australian alpine flora. Little is currently known about how to actually grow most alpine plants from seeds. The new project involves not only collecting and storing alpine seeds but plant germination trials and ecological field studies on previously unstudied species. Building on the past three years of seed collection and storage, the research will make a major contribution to understanding how Australia’s alpine plants may be affected by climate change.

This research project is a collaboration of the ANBG, the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and the Friends of the Gardens, and has been funded under an Australian Research Council Grant. The project also takes the ANBG one step closer to developing a national alpine seed bank as a conservation insurance policy to ensure Australia’s alpine species are not lost. As part of the project the ANBG will host a living collection of alpine plants to raise awareness about conservation of Australia’s alpine biodiversity.


The next ten years at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Australia-wide consultation for the ANBG’s next management plan brought out some definite views on the ANBG’s role for the next ten years. The national community expressed expectations that the work of the ANBG needs a strong scientific underpinning. There were views across the nation that the ANBG should be a leader in education and telling the Australian story that links people, plants, the Australian landscape and Australia’s national identity.

Since its beginnings, the ANBG has led the way as one of Australia's first all-native botanic gardens, focusing on the horticulture and propagation of Australian plants. To remain a relevant national institution, the ANBG must now adapt to reflect the changing needs of Australian society and new challenges in managing Australia’s biodiversity. The ANBG consulted widely with the Australian community and experts in botanic gardens management, botany, business development, education, heritage, horticulture, management of national collecting institutions and tourism. The initial ‘have your say’ consultation for the new management plan called for written submissions. The ANBG went a step further and led a series of discussions with community members across Australia. Interested people came together to talk about their perceptions and expectations of a national botanic garden and its living collection in representing Australia’s biodiversity.

The management plan for the next ten years will be based on results from:

The next step is to examine and combine the conclusions from the consultation, review of operations and technical audit to create the new vision and management plan.


Taxonomy: an important tool in environmental weed management

Environmental weeds are one of the greatest threats to native plants and animals.

A research program at the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research is using taxonomic methods to unravel the genetic history of weeds and identify where they came from. The program is focusing first on the Weeds of National Significance, particularly weeds for which lack of taxonomic knowledge is hampering land managers’ control efforts.

Plant scientists are combining tools from traditional taxonomy and from molecular systematics and ecology to determine the existence of distinct genetic races, the forces behind these variations, their geographic distribution and how they came to Australia. This knowledge will help with finding better targeted biocontrol agents for each weed species and will allow land managers to use traditional control methods more effectively.

Under the program, the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research is working closely with biocontrol entomologist Michael Day of Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries on lantana (Lantana camara), one of the Weeds of National Significance. The project is funded by the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Environmental Research Facilities taxonomy research hub.

The precise origins of lantana are unclear due to a long history of horticultural breeding and a poorly resolved taxonomy. Genetic profiling under the project has shown that the source for the most invasive form of weedy lantana is likely to be a single widespread species with considerable variation.

The testing also indicated that lantana in Australia originated from Venezuela and the West Indies, suggesting that efforts to find a biocontrol agent should be refocused away from Mexico and towards those regions.

Other work has focused on flower colour. Scientists have found that flower colour is a poor marker for some genetic variants and instead varies within populations. Colours also vary throughout the Australian landscape and in their susceptibility to biocontrol agents. Colour is thus an important marker for predicting variation among lantana populations and how they interact with their environments.

This information will permit much more precise design of protocols for developing biocontrol agents.


Updated 15 December, 2009dDate --> , webmaster, ANBG (anbg-info@anbg.gov.au)