Plant Science Group

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The Plant Science Group aims to provide ‘Friends of the ANBG' with activities of a more technical, scientific and research nature, illustrated by past activities such as:

  • involvement in research projects such as the Acacia pollination project
  • involvement in the ANU/ANBG Friends Australian Research Council linkage grant on alpine seed and seed ecology
  • assistance with the current stocktake of the living collection
  • input into the Botanical Resource Centre and its Review.

And also fosters information-sharing and education, by providing:

  • a forum to share more technical information about plants and plant identification
  • briefings on current cutting-edge research in plant science, through monthly Technical Talks.



Technical Talks

The main, regular activity of the Group is the Technical Talks; these are held on the first Monday morning of each month (except for Public Holidays), usually in the Theatrette, and are only open to Friends of the ANBG.  They are more technical than the regular Thursday lunch time talks, which are open to the general public. Technical Talk details are listed on the calendar page of this website a week or so before each talk -

The Technical Talks were originally started to train Botanical Resource Centre facilitators. The focus has now broadened beyond plant identification by their instigator, Murray Fagg, at the request of Friends’ Council. We are grateful to Murray for continuing to source speakers for talks on a range of topics.

Examples of the topics covered recently include: 

  • Getting to know an area’s flora
  • Seeds & Fruit

  • The Hornworts

  • Cleomaceae - The tangled web of Australian ‘Spider Flowers’

  • Measuring photosynthesis from a distance

  • Domestication and breeding of Eucalytptus benthamii (Camden White Gum) and E. dorrigoensis (Dorrigo White Gum).

  • Evolutionary ecology of plants: Understanding the evolution of plant mating systems.


Last year Murray Fagg conducted a tour of the National Herbarium for members of the Plant Science Group. This provided the opportunity for a greater understanding of the National Herbarium.

Future activities

The Convenor and Subcommittee of the Plant Science Group meet on a regular basis to discuss a range of activities for the coming year. Of the suggestions made for this year (viz: another tour of the National Herbarium, a visit to the Cryptogam Herbarium, a guided walk to look at the effects of viruses on native plants, criteria for naming fossil plants and a tour of the PlantBank at Mount Annan Botanic Garden), we have visited the Cryptogam Herbarium (11 April), toured the PlantBank at the Royal Sydney Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan (17 June) and had a talk on Why Paleobotany? (1st August). In addition, a new field research project, the Fan Grevillea (Grevillea ramosissima) Conservation Project has started under the leadership of Dr Rosemary Purdie involving members of the Plant Science Group.

Other suggestions for activities (talks and tours) are welcome, as well as opportunities for involvement in more scenically orientated projects.

Cryptogam visit: Dr Chris Cargill, Curator showing exhibits. Photo: Fanny Karouta-Manasse
Cryptogam visit: Dr Chris Cargill, Curator showing exhibits. Photo: Fanny Karouta-Manasse

Contact information

Convenor: Anne Campbell


  • Maureen Connolly
  • Murray Fagg
  • Lesley Harland


New members are welcome
If you are interested in joining the Plant Science Group, please email for more information and to be included on the mailing list for advice about upcoming Technical Talks.