2.1.3 Taxonomic theme


Historically, botanic gardens have used the taxonomic theme as a method of displaying plant collections. This was primarily because many of the early botanic gardens were attached to universities where the medicinal properties and the systematics of plants were being studied. Taxonomic plantings at the Gardens have been used regularly by researchers, educators and students, taking advantage of the convenience of having plants to be studied and compared growing in the one location.

The taxonomic displays both in Canberra and at Jervis Bay include representation by class (for example, monocotyledons), by family (for example, Proteaceae and Myrtaceae) and by genus (for example, Acacia and Eucalyptus). This was one of the predominant methods of arranging the plants in the early years of the Gardens but there have been problems with particular pests and diseases becoming concentrated in these areas. For this reason, and in response to the growing interest in viewing plants in an environmental setting, it is now the policy of the Gardens to move away from this form of display and to prefer ecological plantings.

Management prescriptions


The objective is to maintain and develop taxonomically arranged displays of plants that are useful for researchers, educators and students and of interest to the public.


Many of the taxonomic beds at both the Canberra and Jervis Bay sites (see Figure 2.2 and 2.3) will need some rejuvenation in the next five years. Those beds already planted taxonomically will be maintained and continually assessed for their health, vigour and usefulness. Where changes are deemed necessary, these will be considered in light of known and expected use and beds will be rejuvenated if the theme needs to be continued or an alternative theme will be developed. The families displayed will be reviewed; areas currently devoted to particular families may be reduced or expanded.

The Gardens has a major research program on the taxonomy of orchids and has developed a significant collection of this family. Most of the collection is not currently presented for public viewing because it is being maintained in glasshouses in the Nursery, yet public interest in orchids is high. It is proposed therefore to provide a facility for the permanent display of this collection by building an orchid conservatory for interpretation of the family and the research being done.