Plant Science Group

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The Plant Science Group enables ‘Friends of the ANBG' to become involved with and to learn about technical, scientific and research matters relating to Australian plants. It does this by:

  • providing a forum to share technical information about plants and their identification, including in an ecosystem context
  • briefing on current cutting-edge research in plant science through monthly Technical Talks
  • augmenting the Technical Talks program with visits, such as to herbaria, seed banks and the ANBG nursery.

Direct volunteering involvement opportunities also arise from time to time and are illustrated by current and past tasks such as:

  • data collection for an Acacia pollination project
  • participation in an ANU, ANBG and ANBG Friends Australian Research Council linkage grant on alpine seed and seedling ecology
  • assisting in the ANBG stocktake of its living collection
  • providing input to assist in the operation of the Botanical Resource Centre.



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 Friends' calendar website a week or so before each talk -

These 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. Where speakers permit, copies of talks are made available on the new computer in the Botanical Resource Centre.

Here are the topics covered in 2017:

  • Genetics guiding ecological offset work: the example of Rutidosis lanata
  • Native seed conservation and research
  • Transition zones between Australian plant provinces (phytogeographic regions): from plants and myxomycetes
  • All things Pelargonium - genetic variation and evolution in South African and Australian Pelargonium.
  • What does Australia's largest pea-flowered legume genus have in common with the 1988 movie Twins?”
  • Top-down rehydration: absorption of atmospheric water vapour, dew, rain by leaves of mangroves
  • Dispersal and disturbance drive diversity
  • Rhizanthella and other orchids, an update
  • Life, the Universe and Pittosporaceae
  • Buzz Pollination of the Native Lasiandra, Melastoma affine (Melastomataceae), revisited and why plants have poricidal anthers.



Several members are currently volunteering in implementation of an ANBG conservation project dealing with the long term survival of two populations of Fan Grevillea (Grevillea ramosissima) on ANBG land. This project, being lead Dr Rosemary Purdie (a Plant Science Group Member), includes work on recording information on the size and phenology of populations.

Following suggestions by members tours have been arranged to the National Herbarium (led by Murray Fagg), the Cryptogam Herbarium (led by Dr Chris Cargill, Curator) and the Australian PlantBank at The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan New South Wales. Most recently a group visited the ANBG Nursery and some members are joining  the Guides in a one day  bus expedition to  the Pollination Display at the Calyx in the Royal Sydney Botanic Gardens.


Getting Involved

The Convenor and Subcommittee of the Plant Science Group welcome the input of all Plant Science Group members on speakers and topics for future Technical Talks, suggestions for tours and identification of opportunities for involvement in more scientifically 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
Visit to Australian PlantBank The Australian Botanic Garden Mt Annan NSW. Photo: Anne Campbell
Visit to Australian PlantBank The Australian Botanic Garden Mt Annan NSW. Photo: Anne Campbell











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.