Southwest Pacific Islands Collection
The flora of Southwest Pacific Islands Collection is renowned for its endemism and antiquity. The unique make-up of its soils makes Southwest Pacific Islands places of special interest for botanists and horticulturalists.
Southwest Pacific Islands soils have a very high mineral content, in particular New Caledonia. Because of this, New Caledonia has been mined extensively. As a result, much of its native flora is under threat. The flora of Southwest Pacific has adapted to the high mineral content in the soils over the years. This has contributed to the high levels of endemic flora in the region.
Australia and Southwest Pacific Islands share many of the same genera of plants. These include Melaleuca, Grevillea and Araucaria. Southwest Pacific Islands holds half of the world’s species of Araucaria. There are seven species of Araucaria in the collection. Another four are situated around the gardens.
Produces striking yellow flowers from late February to early March.
Adopted as the symbol of New Caledonia.
The New Caledonian version of the southern beech.
Variegated leaves tapering to point and flower spikes (racemes) make this an attractive plant.
- See the different forms of Araucaria on display in the collection.
- Your chance to see plants that are otherwise not available in this country.
- 1990s - Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne had built up a collection of plant species from New Caledonia from the early 1990s. This was predominantly due to a relationship with an external collector.
- 1995 - Proposal to develop New Caledonian Collection in the Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island Beds.
- 1998 - Development of area undertaken including tree removals, irrigation installation, plant sourcing, planting, minor path and boardwalk installation. Plant species used were from donations, older stock in Nursery, external nursery suppliers and other botanic institutions.
- 2003 - Acacia karoo removed from northeast corner of bed.
- 2006 - New Caledonian Bed mapped.
- 2011 - Scope of collection broadened from primarily New Caledonian species to Southwest Pacific Islands.
The collection is best viewed late February/early March. This is when Carpolepis laurifolia is in flower.
Southwest Pacific Islands Collection (GIF - 367 kb) On the northern edge of the path leading from E Gate to D Gate
Southwest Pacific Islands plants aren’t readily available in nurseries. It is very difficult to access plant material from New Caledonia.
Find out what plants grow at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Last updated 03 Oct 2012