Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Australian Botanic Garden

Seed research in the family Rutaceae

Dr Amelia Martyn - Seed Research Officer, Allison Frith - Horticulturist, Dr Cathy Offord - Manager Horticultural Research

Research informs the collection and germination testing program within the Australian PlantBank. Seed collection in the family Rutaceae can be difficult, as seeds are dispersed explosively when ripe. Two collection techniques are possible: either collecting seed just prior to maturity or by placing lightweight, breathable bags over branches with immature fruit, but this can impact on seed quality (Frith et al., 2009).

A  review of seed quality, viability and germination has been conducted on seed vault collections in the family Rutaceae, confirming that these parameters are highly variable and reinforcing the need to take these issues into account to ensure optimal regeneration of plants from conservation seed banks (Martyn, Seed, Ooi and Offord 2009). Threatened species in the family Rutaceae were more likely to have low seed fill than common species, while viability and germination were similar. This suggests that poor seed fill is a contributing factor to threat status and is an important parameter to measure.


  • Frith A, Offord C.A. and Martyn A.J. (2009). To bag or not to bag? The effect of different collection methods on seed germination of Zieria arborescens ssp. arborescens Sim. Ecological Restoration and Management 10: 238-241.
  • Martyn AJ, Seed LU, Ooi MKJ and Offord CA (2009) Seed fill, viability and germination of NSW species in the family Rutaceae. Cunninghamia 11(2):203-212.

Seed Research Officer, Dr Amelia Martyn removing seed germination tests from incubators at the Australian PlantBank. Photo: Simone Cottrell, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust 




Photos: Andrew Orme