ANBG Researchers

Behind the scenes of misty gullies, towering eucalypts and crimson waratahs lays a hive of research activity. We don't just create beautiful gardens - we're a world-class botanical institution.

Nestled among the eucalypts, the seed bank holds collections that date back as far as the 1960s. We use the seed for the conservation of rare and threatened plants. We also use the collection for research, to grow new seedlings for the Gardens and to supply to registered organisations.

  • Tom - the people make this place even more special

    Tom is the manager of the seed bank - a vital conservation tool in the efforts to preserve Australia's plants.

    • He loves working with the volunteers who help with the seed bank work - from retired professionals and former scientists to those who want to be involved in a project and a community. Tom leads volunteers in seed collection trips, followed by the cleaning, drying and storing of collected seed in our fully equipped laboratory. Looking at the seeds under the microscope he says is one last part of the collecting trip - stored correctly the seeds can remain viable for hundreds of years.

      Tom's work managing the National Seed Bank is crucial for the Gardens' efforts towards preserving the diversity of Australian flora. Each seed holds all the genetic information needed to reproduce a plant and viewing them under a microscope is fascinating - they have so many different shapes and appearances, from very beautiful to spiky, weird and wacky. He's looking forward to the arrival of a new, more powerful microscope soon.Whoever knew seeds could be so charismatic!

    Read more on Tom Close
  • Lydia - leading new research

    Lydia joins us from the very different landscapes of Western Australia. On her first Canberra-based field trip it snowed and she tried not to act too excited!

    • She is the Garden's seed conservation biologist and keeps busy experimenting with the best ways to collect, process, store and sprout native seeds. Her research is focussed on seed germination in endangered (EPBC listed) alpine Sphagnum bogs and associated fens. Lydia also nurtures botanical interns! Last year her two interns made new records on ...Her research is focussed on seed germination in endangered (EPBC listed) alpine Sphagnum bogs and associated fens.

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  • Lucy - connecting plants, people and animals

    Lucy is fascinated with the connections between people and plants. She's interested in how plants have been used over the centuries, as well as the plant species used by traditional cultures and those used by various cultures today.

    • Lucy heads up the Australian Seed Bank Partnership - an immense job which has brought together experts across the country. She sees botanic gardens as the shop fronts for discovering the wonderful world of plants and their uses. The seed banks are behind the scenes, playing a vital role in research and recovery programs.

    Read more on Lucy Close
  • Botanical resources

    Our on-site nursery team can produce up to 40,000 plants per year! We grow hundreds of seedlings for use in the Gardens and glasshouses, research, and restoration projects use in the ACT and New South Wales regions.

    • Image collection
      The image collection includes everything from photographs of royal visitors to botanical drawings, all of which are searchable online. It holds over 48,000 photographs of Australian plants as well as pictures of our visitors and activities since our opening in 1971. Search the collection.
      Botanical databases
      In partnership with the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR) we have developed several databases to help botanists and enthusiasts identify Australian plants and these resources continue to grow. Some of these databases can be accessed at the Botanical Resource Centre.
      Library and archive
      The library is a collection of almost 20,000 books, 400 journal titles and 5,000 maps representing the fascinating diversity and beauty of plants, flowers and trees across the world. It provides staff and volunteers with new publications, research, international publications. It's open to the public by appointment - we welcome you to come and browse the shelves.

    Read more on our botanical resourcesClose