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Plant Collections

  • Melbourne

Lake System Wetlands

This area includes the following locations

Nymphaea Lily, Central and Ornamental LakesFern Gully Creek, reservoir in Guilfoyle’s Volcano, Floating Treatment Wetlands, Canna Bed Rain Garden and Lake Islands (esp margins).


  • The combined wetland plantings in all three lakes and on all the Islands including the floating islands must give an appearance of a vibrant diverse and healthy wetland that sits comfortably in a 19th century historic garden.
  • The relationship between open water and large swathes of planting must be managed to maintain the correct balance. Viewing points, where open water is important must be maintained. Extra sites for marginal wetland planting will need to be identified in consultation with the Collection Support team. 
  • Wetland species either planted into berms, lake edges or directly into the water should form one seamless planting swathe, where landforms and lake edges are hardly noticed.

Floating Treatment Wetlands

  • Floating Treatment Wetlands (floating islands) must be fully planted so there is 100% surface cover. No part of the synthetic surface should be visible or seen from the main paths and lawns that surround the lake.
  • Floating Treatment Wetlands at Guilfoyle’s Volcano to be planted with both exotic and indigenous species with a focus on texture and form contrasts. Plants selected for floating islands in the ornamental lake should explore planting opportunities to enhance the adjacent collections ( ie Southern China, Fern Gully New Zealand and Long Island).

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Key Plants

Bolboschoneus fluvitalis - Significant indigenous species

Eleocharis sphacelata - Original macrophyte of the pre-RBG lagoon

Melaleuca ericifolia - Remnant riparian/swamp species that pre-dates European settlement of current Melbourne CBD

Phragmites australis - Habitat for Reed Warbler and important water treatment species

Triglochin procera - Original macrophyte of the pre-RBG lagoon

Typha domingensis - Distinctive indigenous species compared with invasive exotic Typha latifolia and potential water treatment species

Vallisneria australis - Tolerant of cyanobacteria mediated low light levels

Curator Notes

Floating filters - Can you see the floating islands on the lake? Also known as floating treatment wetands, the islands are inhabited by semi-aquatic plants that help to improve water quality. Just like a hydroponic system, the plants absorb nutrients from the water, rather than the soil. Improved water quality is necessary to reduce the risk of algal blooms in the lakes. The islands are constructed mainly from recycled PET bottles.