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Collections

The Garden's collections are the Living Plant Collection and the Herbarium Collection.

  • Our Living Plant Collection is made up of regional plant species that are found across a wide range of ecosystems. This collection includes representatives of all vegetation types from the tiniest forbs to the most majestic forest giants. The collection comprises specific taxonomic groups or plant families - including members of the Proteaceae family such as Banksias and Grevilleas - as well as specialist groups such as threatened species.
  • The Herbarium Collection (or Wallace Herbarium) is a heritage listed collection of dried plant specimens collected from throughout our collecting region. With over 14,000 specimens this collection has taken over 30 years to build and includes rare and endangered species, introduced plants, and weeds.

The Garden's resources are available for research of the flora of the region through the study of the living collection and the specimens in the Herbarium.

Collecting region

  • The flora grown in the Garden is drawn from a collecting region of almost 6,000 square kilometres.
  • It encompasses the Eurobodalla Shire and parts of the adjoining Shoalhaven, Palerang and Bega Valley shires.
  • This collecting region is defined by a geographical base that covers the catchments of the district’s three large rivers, the Clyde, the Deua and the Tuross rivers.
  • These rivers flow eastwards from the crest of the Great Dividing Range to the coast; therefore the Collecting Region encompasses a wide range of plant communities, from high altitude sub-alpine to coastal dune and sea strand.
  • Over 70% of our collecting region is designated National Parks, State Forests and Crown Reserves.

Which plants?

In the past there has been debate about whether the Garden should focus only on local native plants or if the range of plants presented should include native Australian plants from areas outside the collecting region.

  • In 1976 at a meeting of Australian botanists, there was agreement that a system of regional native botanic gardens be established in Australia. At an International Conference in the UK in 1978, this approach was adopted worldwide. In 1992 at the 3rd International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress in Brazil, the matter was again considered and endorsed.
  • The Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden is committed to this approach, and we continue to focus on species in the current defined collecting region - which includes Eurobodalla and parts of the adjoining Shoalhaven, Palerang and Bega Valley shires.
  • In future, consideration will be given to extending the collection zone to include more of the South East Corner Bioregion.

The Gardens play a role in the conservation of our region’s Threatened and Endangered Species, in accordance with Commonwealth and State Legislation.

By careful collection, documentation, scientific propagation methods and good growing conditions, the Garden is able to take part in threatened species recovery programs. The Garden has the facilities, space and expertise to cultivate populations of threatened species for re-introduction into the wild, to provide plants for horticultural purposes and to assist in increasing public awareness of the importance of maintaining species diversity.

The Garden is also involved in a conservation partnership with other botanic gardens including Wollongong Botanic Gardens, Booderee Botanic Garden and the National Botanic Garden in Canberra. This partnership concentrates on threatened species found within the South East Corner Bioregion.

The development of the Wallace Herbarium has been a high priority since the inception of the Garden. Despite the lack of permanent premises in the early years, development continued, and today, this ever-expanding collection is permanently housed in a purpose-built facility located within the Garden's nursery precinct. The new Wallace Herbarium building was opened in 2019 and built specifically to house the herbarium collection and provide modern facilities and equipment for the study of our regional flora.

The long-term aim of the Curator of the Wallace Herbarium has been to obtain specimens of the more than 2,000 plant species that occur naturally within the Collecting Region, a philosophy that supports the strictly regional concept of the Garden. The Collecting Region covers the catchments of the Clyde, Deua and Tuross Rivers covering a wide variety of habitats and plant communities; from seaside dunes to subalpine areas, from sandstone heaths to cool temperate rainforests, and from tall sclerophyll forests to grasslands.

The Wallace Herbarium is central to the scientific aspect of the Garden. The collection has been documented, identified and processed in accordance with scientific best practices. The contents of the Wallace Herbarium are data-based and have been included in the National Herbarium database and the Atlas of Living Australia.

All plants and propagation material brought into the Garden and the specimens collected for the Herbarium are identified and documented. As a result the plants and propagating material used in the Gardens can be traced as they grow. This data collection will allow detailed research into scientific aspects of the regions’ flora.

Specimens or ‘Voucher’ material relating to the Garden's Living Collection is also housed in the Herbarium. This allows for genetic research into provenanced flora of the Collecting Region. The collection also contains a number of specimens showing the variation in form and colour of particular species.

By dividing the collecting region into districts, and collecting exhaustively within each district, the distribution of species can be plotted and then studied. As a result of the work carried out by the herbarium staff many collected species have been found outside their known range or include unrecorded populations of threatened and endangered species.

The collecting and processing of specimens is carried out primarily by volunteers under the supervision of an Honorary Curator and the Wallace Herbarium would not exist without the significant contribution of its volunteers.

Our Herbarium volunteers also provide a valuable plant identification service. Specimens can be brought into our Visitor Centre, where they will be prepared and passed on to our Herbarium staff for identification. Results will be advised by phone or email usually within the following fortnight.

The Herbarium is not generally open to the public however open days are planned and will be advertised on this site.

In 2012 the Friends of the Garden, in partnership with Eurobodalla Shire Council, successfully sought $370,000 in funding to establish a regional seed bank of native flora from the Garden's collecting region. The collecting region has a geographical base that covers the catchments of the district’s three large rivers, the Clyde, the Deua and the Tuross in addition to portions of the Mongarlowe and Bermagui River catchments.

The project aims to develop a reliable source of native seed and seedling stock including targeting high conservation value ecosystems, over-cleared landscapes and identified corridors of local and regional significance on the South Coast of NSW.

Over time the seed bank will build up seed stocks to enable the garden to have an increased role in supplying seed and plants for a broad range of environmental projects. It will enable land managers to expand and reconnect habitat on their properties through mixed species plantings appropriate to the locality. This will help build landscape resilience, improve connectivity and ensure the retention of natural diversity.

Already the seed bank has played a role in supplying plants for large scale landscape rehabilitation and revegetation projects involving Local Land Services Landcare, Local Aboriginal Land Councils and schools.

The Seed Bank is not generally open to the public however open days are planned and will be advertised on this site.

Contact us

Get in touch if you have a question for our herbarium staff: