Scientific Publications

Scientists at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne publish journal articles and books in the areas of taxonomy, systematics, phylogeny, nomenclature, biogeography, conservation, sustainability, ecology and the history of science, with a focus on the flora and fungi of Victoria and iconic Australian plant groups such as Acacia and Eucalyptus.

Among these publications are authoritative reference works on the Flora of Victoria (covering native and naturalised plants growing in the wild) and the Horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia (covering cultivated plants). Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne also publishes the research journal Muelleria. The Horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia and some volumes of the Flora of Victoria, are available from The Gardens Shop.


Muelleria is the research journal of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Publication commenced in 1955. Muelleria publishes papers on Southern Hemisphere plant, algal and fungal systematics, particularly relating to Australia. The scope of the journal covers taxonomic revisions; phylogenetic and biogeographical studies; short papers describing new taxa, documenting nationally significant new records, or resolving nomenclatural matters; historical analyses relevant to systematics; and any research contributing to knowledge of plant, algal or fungal diversity. See the Muelleria page for the online issues as well as details on submitting manuscripts, subscription, exchange and back orders.

Flora of Victoria

The four volume Flora of Victoria is the essential reference work on the vascular plants of Victoria. The Flora covers flowering plants, conifers and ferns and allied plants. Both native and naturalised species are included. An introductory volume presents summaries for Victoria of palaeobotany, botanical exploration, climate, geology and geomorphology, soils, bioregions, Koori plant use, fire ecology, exotic flora and rare or threatened plants.

In the three taxonomic volumes, each species has a standardised description as well as a distribution map and notes on ecology. Most species are illustrated with line drawings, usually showing details of flowers and fruits. Keys are provided for families, genera and species and for infraspecific taxa as necessary.

  • Foreman, D.B. and Walsh, N.G. (1993). Flora of Victoria, vol. 1. Inkata Press, Melbourne. [out of print]
  • Walsh, N.G. and Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Flora of Victoria, vol. 2. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
  • Walsh, N.G. and Entwisle, T.J. (1996). Flora of Victoria, vol. 3. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
  • Walsh, N.G. and Entwisle, T.J. (1999). Flora of Victoria, vol. 4. Inkata Press, Melbourne. [out of print]

Staff at RBG Melbourne are currently working towards producing an online version of the Flora of Victoria, which will be available by the end of 2014.

Horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia

The five volume Horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia is an identification guide to cultivated plants, both native and exotic. The Horticultural flora covers plants grown in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland. It is a reference work for students of horticulture, landscape architects and designers, nurserymen, botanists and anyone involved with cultivated plants.

The Horticultural flora is the first comprehensive account of its kind in Australia, and takes advantage of the resources and expertise at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Plant descriptions are in non-technical language and there are extensive identification aids, including over 3,000 diagnostic line drawings.

Detail provided includes: the range of available cultivars (with descriptions and details of their origin when known); specialists societies and their journals; the places and people that hold important plant collections; and the localities and brief history of outstanding specimen trees.

  • Spencer, R.D. (1995–2005). A horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia, vols. 1–5. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

Plant names: a guide to botanical nomenclature

Plant names is a plain English guide to the use of plant names and the conventions for writing them as governed by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants and the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. It covers the naming of wild plants, plants modified by humans, why plant names change, their pronunciation and hints to help remember them. The final section provides a detailed guide to websites and other published resources useful to people using plant names.

The book incorporates the latest information in the most recently published botanical and cultivated plant codes, both of which are technical scientific publications that are difficult to read for all but the most dedicated botanists and horticulturists. Plant names offers professional horticulturalists and hobby gardeners a guide to using the multitude of names, including marketing names, on plant labels. For botanists to publishers, professional horticulturists, nurserymen, hobby gardeners and anyone interested in plant names, this book is an invaluable guide to using the potentially confusing array of scientific, commercial and common names.

  • Spencer, R., Cross, R. and Lumley, P. (2007). Plant names: a guide to botanical nomenclature, 3rd edn. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Sustainable gardens

Sustainable gardens provides home gardeners, professional horticulturists, landscapers and those interested in sustainability science with the necessary background to make informed decisions about how to manage cultivated land as part of a general strategy for leading more sustainable lives.

Behaving sustainably reaches into all aspects of our lives. A major challenge of this book has been to place horticulture within the complicated context of ecology, environmental and social management, and practical gardening. Readers will find as much in this book about sustainability as they find about their parks and gardens.

The book introduces sustainability, its relationship to landscapes and gardens, and then proceeds to chapters on sustainable garden design, sustainability in the broader landscape, landscape construction and maintenance. The overarching theme is of human consumption as a major driver of environmental impact, because this is the area where we can all act and make a difference.

The book is not about new or old gardening methods, or right and wrong practices, but simply an aid to gardening more in harmony with the natural world.

  • Cross, R. and Spencer, R. (2009). Sustainable gardens. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Plant names and Sustainable gardens are available from The Gardens Shop or directly, from CSIRO Publishing.