Make A Difference

Why the Australian Seed Bank Partnership needs your help.

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is taking decisive action to safeguard Australia’s plants. Our Partners have already secured a representative third of Australia’s flora, including more than 50 per cent of our threatened species, through seed banking activities supported by the Millennium Seed Bank Project.

By securing native seeds in conservation seed banks, undertaking scientific research and sharing knowledge, we can safeguard Australia’s flora. We can also revegetate and restore degraded landscapes more cost effectively and efficiently.

Your support will help ensure that our vital work continues.

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The Australian Seed Bank Partnership offers your organisation the opportunity to support and benefit from our knowledge and technical guidance on using native seed.

Read more about the success stories in each state

Rainbow Valley Fuchsia Bush (Eremophila prostrata) (Photo: M. Fagg)

There are only seven known populations of the endemic Rainbow Valley Fuchsia Bush (Eremophila prostrata). These populations are located within an area of 25 x 61 km south of Alice Springs on red dune sand country. Seeds from this nationally vulnerable plant have been collected and secured in the Northern Territory Seed Bank as an insurance policy for its survival.

Work with Banksia montana has provided a testing ground for translocating plants (Photo: DEC, Greg Freebury)

Known from fewer than 40 plants in the Stirling Range, this endemic perennial is at risk of extinction due to disease and frequent fire. No suitable disease-free sites were found within the species’ historic range so the Department of Environment and Conservation has introduced Banksia montana to a lowland site to assist survival. These plants, now numbering over 100, cope well with the warmer environment, flowering and fruiting earlier than in the wild.

Downy mint bush (Prostanthera behriana) in flower (Photo: SA Seed Conservation Centre)

Prostanthera is a group of plants commonly known as mint bushes because of their aromatic foliage. Around 100 species are endemic to Australia and 15 of these are under threat of extinction. Mint bushes are a key part of many plant communities and important and popular to the horticultural industry because they grow fast and look spectacular when flowering.

Researchers from Adelaide Botanic Garden are building an understanding of seed dormancy in Prostanthera to improve success with seed germination. Their research findings will help to conserve the rare species and enable greater number of species to be utilised by the nursery and horticultural industry.

The flowering shining nematolepsis, Nematolepsis wilsonii (Photo: J. Antrobus)

The only known population of the rare and threatened shining nematolepsis shrub (Nematolepsis wilsonii) was destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire. Fortunately, conservation efforts before the fire, have gone a long way towards saving this species. Before the fire, about 200 shining nematolepsis plants were known. These were under threat of being damaged by the introduced Sambar deer, which ‘de-velvet’ their new antlers each year on the shrubs. This has progressively killed about 10% of the population. The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens has grown more than 300 plants from cuttings and seed. These are planted in a suitable habitat and fenced off to prevent further deer damage. Together, secure translocated plants, banked seeds, and the knowledge of conditions required for successful germination allow hope for the nationally endangered shining nematolepsis.

Macquarie Cushion (Azorella macquariensis) is one of only four plants endemic to Macquarie Island (Photo: M. Visoiu)

In 2008, large areas of the Macquarie Cushion (Azorella macquariensis) on Macquarie Island were dying. A collection of plants and seed were brought back to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens as an insurance measure and to research the cause of the dieback. Following successful trials with a potted conservation collection on the Island, a viable on-Island ex-situ conservation collection will be developed, consisting of approximately 50 individual plants collected from wide–ranging populations of Macquarie Cushion across the Island.

Mountain Swainson Pea (Swainsona recta) (Photo: R. Hotchkiss)

Throughout the ACT, the Mountain Swainson Pea is at risk from habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural and urban development, changes in grazing pressures and competition-by understory species that have flourished under a reduced fire frequency and invading weeds. The small, fragmented nature of their populations makes them susceptible to destruction from a single catastrophic event. The Australian National Botanic Gardens is collaborating with the public and private sectors to secure the future of this species through seed collection and banking, and the propagation of plants for translocation to a secure site.

Securing rare orchids, such as this Diuris callitrophila, requires specialist knowledge (Photo: K. Sommerville)

The future of NSW’s beautiful terrestrial orchids is being secured. Seed from Diuris callitrophila, an endangered terrestrial orchid known only from the Oaklands-Urana region in southern NSW, has been collected and safely stored in the NSW Seed Bank. To germinate in the wild, orchid seeds need a fungus that lives on the plant, while providing nutrients in return. Collectors therefore take soil samples from the base of the orchid while taking seed pods, and later germinate a few seeds in that soil. This collection will be reintroduced to wild populations with low numbers and used to introduce the species to suitable new sites.

The rare Citrus garrawayi is an edible lime (Photo: Kim Hamilton)

With the largest number of indigenous citrus species of any country in the world, Australia’s six species are an important source of genetic diversity in the development of food crops. Standard seed banking practices are not effective for many species from rainforest or tropical origins and alternative technologies are needed to conserve this diversity. Research by Griffith University resulted in a better understanding of the seed storage and germination requirements of Australian wild limes. This work has helped to secure these species for their conservation and economic value.