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.
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
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.