Search made easy for rare plants

The rare lily, “Laxmannia gracilis”.

INFORMATION on native and introduced plants growing wild in the ACT is now more readily available through the recently updated plant census.

The “Census of Vascular plants, Hornworts, Liverworts and Slime Moulds of the Australian Capital Territory”, which is now available online, was a combination of work of the Territory and Municipal Services and the Australian National Herbarium – which has among the world’s biggest collection Australian plant specimens.

“We’ve made significant improvements to the previous version, which we released in 2008,” curator of the Australian National Herbarium, Brendan Lepschi said.

“We’ve added 152 vascular plant species, mostly through collecting specimens in the field and examining our historical collections. We’ve also included information on name changes for a further 127 species.

“This version also includes common names of plants and information on a whole new group of organisms – the slime moulds.”

Mr Lepschi said every plant documented in the census is supported by a specimen in the Herbarium collection.

“These specimens allow us to better understand what is happening with our local plants. For example by referring to our existing collections, last year we were able to confirm the survival of a tiny lily called Laxmannia gracilis,” he said.

“Last seen in 1960, we found the lily again on Black Mountain – right next door to the Australian National Botanic Gardens and CSIRO.”

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