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November trip to the Wet Tropics reaps rewards

The Seeds for Life collecting team of Jason Halford and Simon Bush from the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (BBG) ventured into the steamy wet tropics of north Queensland in November, where they successfully secured Queensland’s targeted collection quota for the 2014-15 season.

The Brisbane team targeted a variety of rainforest species not found in other parts of the state. The collections contribute to the Australian Seed Bank Partnership’s target of adding 1000 new species to Australia’s conservation seed banks for researching and safeguarding endangered native plant species.

After several frustrating years of battling drought in central and southern Queensland, they decided to go further afield and scour the highly diverse tropical far north of the state, aiming to collect new species for seed banking- the gamble paid off.

In a return trip from Brisbane that took in collecting locations from Eungella west of Mackay to the Atherton Tablelands as well as a stop off in the Blackdown Tablelands along the way, the team secured 46 collections of new plant species.

Among the species collected was the breathtaking rainforest giant Xanthostemon whitei (Red Penda) collected at Kuranda; the exotic-looking tropical rainforest Banana Figs Ficus crassipes, Ficus pleurocarpa and Ficus destruens from Wooroonooran National Park behind Mt Bartle-Frere; the stunning undescribed Cassia sp.‘Paluma Range’ from the Mt Fox area, as well as important collections of threatened and/or geographically isolated species such as Melaleuca pyramidalis, also collected from Wooroonooran National Park at the summit of Walsh’s Pyramid.

    

  

 

 

 

 

 

Above: The Round leaved Banana Fig (Ficus crassipes), collected in Wooroonooran National Park at the western approach to Mt Bartle-Frere. Photo: J. Halford

Left: The gorgeous Cassia sp. 'Paluma Range' in full bloom. Collected on the Seaview Range in the Mount Fox area. Photo: J. Halford