Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Living Plant Census

The online Living Plant Census allows the public to view details of the entire living collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. The Living Plant Census can be queried by scientific name or common name. A list of plants in each of the various beds and locations in the Gardens is available. In addition, publicly accessible locations of plants within the Gardens are mapped.

The online Plant Census is one of the first of its kind in Australia, but the origins of lists of plants growing at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne go back to the nineteenth century. Records of plants growing at the Gardens have been kept since the 1850s, with varying levels of detail. The first comprehensive list of plants in the Gardens was prepared by William Guilfoyle in 1883. Guilfoyle's Plants in the Botanic Gardens, Melbourne detailed the names, description and habitat of plants, but did not provide the provenance of the plants nor their exact location in the Gardens.

Formal record keeping began in 1969 with the introduction of an accession book that detailed the provenance, date of planting and location within the Gardens of all new plantings. These records form the basis of the current plant census. Since 1976 there has been a staff member whose duties have included record keeping. The computerised Living Collections Database dates from this time. In 2008, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Living Collections Database was made publicly available via the online Living Plant Census.