3.1.1 Geographic focus


Contributing to our understanding of the relationships and origins of the continental and offshore Australian flora is a major objective of the Gardens. This is reflected in the composition of the collections and in the research carried out on these collections. Most research is carried out on specimens of Australian taxa and efforts are made to have a comprehensive representation of the Australian flora in the collections. But to achieve a clear understanding of the continent's flora it is necessary also to understand the origin and evolution of the plants we know today. Thus research programs extend to floras closely related to that of Australia, and the Herbarium aims to achieve a good representation of plants from surrounding countries and from continents that were previously part of the larger Gondwana land mass. Specimens from more distant countries are also included in the collections if they are closely related to the Australian taxa. The Herbarium also includes specimens from a wide range of exotic species growing in Australia, many from the Canberra region.

On a finer scale, priorities for field collecting of vascular plants have been dictated to a large extent by the regional themes of the living collections. Collecting trips for vascular plants have, however, been undertaken specifically to complete gaps in the Herbarium collection. Since non-vascular plants do not feature prominently in the living collections, collection of these groups has been more wide ranging.

Management prescriptions


The objective is to manage a comprehensive collection of scientific specimens to facilitate studies of Australian plants and comparison with representatives of plants from the surrounding region and other plants related to the Australian flora.


The integration of the Gardens' Herbarium with that of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry, to operate as a single national collection as part of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, will significantly enhance the representativeness and comprehensiveness of the collection of both Australian and exotic species.

The Gardens will continue to collect, manage and study plant specimens from all regions of Australia. Field work will concentrate on areas known to be undersurveyed botanically or areas with a problematic flora. Intensive field work will also be undertaken as resources permit at known and expected localities for rare or threatened plant taxa. Duplicate specimens will be exchanged with and borrowed from other botanical institutions, to augment the regional and comparative material available for study.