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Plant Collections

Southwest Pacific Islands Collection

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.

Best Viewed

  • February, March


Southwest Pacific Islands plants aren’t readily available in nurseries. It is very difficult to access plant material from New Caledonia.

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Key Plants

Carpolepis laurifolia

Produces striking yellow flowers from late February to early March.

Araucaria columnaris

Adopted as the symbol of New Caledonia.

Nothofagus codonandra

The New Caledonian version of the southern beech.

Astelia neocaledonica

Variegated leaves tapering to point and flower spikes (racemes) make this an attractive plant.

Curator Notes

  1. See the different forms of Araucaria on display in the collection.
  2. 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.