Stored Seed Could Save Grevillea barklyana
Ferdinand von Mueller, the original Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria, was the first to formally describe many native Australian flora species, and in the seminal 1870 work Flora Australiensis to which he contributed, he described Grevillea barklyana which is the tallest of Victoria’s Grevillea species and is currently critically endangered.
Known only from small populations located in and around Bunyip State Park, these areas were badly burnt in 2009’s Black Saturday Bushfires. Subsequent fires have the potential to exhaust the soil seed store of Grevillea barklyana should they occur before the soil seedbank can be replenished which could lead to this striking species disappearing entirely in the wild.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victorian Conservation Seedbank team have collected Grevillea barklyana seeds which are stored in the Victorian Conservation Seedbank within the National Herbarium of Victoria. These stored seeds may represent the richest seed source in existence for this species, and if they are successfully germinated and propagated, will be used to repopulate the areas where Grevillea barklyana naturally occurs in the wild and help ensure its survival.
The Victorian Conservation Seedbank is our insurance policy against plant extinction. If the effects of climate change, habitat loss and events such as floods or bushfires devastate a native plant species, stored seeds are often its only hope for survival as they are in this case.