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Ex situ conservation - Making a difference for Sydney Harbour National Park

Allocasuarina portuensis is an endangered shrub from the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

First recorded in 1986, it was at that time restricted to only 10 plants at Nielsen Park in the Sydney Harbour National Park, although it was most likely more widespread before urban development and changing fire regimes resulted in loss of habitat. Seed from these ten plants were taken to The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan and plants were propagated and displayed in the botanic garden.

By 1994 the natural population had been reduced to two female plants. Staff from the NSW Seedbank collected seed and cuttings from the remaining wild plants. The seed was propagated and progeny were checked for hybrids with most of the seedlings identified as true Allocasuarina portuensis. At one point the only existing plants were those in potted ex situ collections and the seed bank. Plants propagated as cuttings and from seed have been used to reintroduce this species at Neilsen Park and several other sites within Sydney Harbour National Park.