- Evolutionary ecology research
- Horticultural research
- Plant diversity research
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- Scientific publications
Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service
Plant identification service
Trying to identify plants? Tearing your hair out? Let us help you. We provide a comprehensive plant identification and botanical information service for over-the-counter visitors (open weekdays 9.30 am to 1 pm) and by fax or mail. We also provide general botanical information including current scientific names of plants and details on the distribution of NSW plants. See Gardening Information for horticultural topics including plant diseases and pests.
Contact us for advice on the best way to prepare your specimens for identification, or read the chapter on collecting specimens in the book Proteaceae of New South Wales or volume 1 of the Flora of New South Wales. We also have a booklet on collecting, preserving and identifying specimens, available from our Garden Shops.
Botanical Information Service (open weekdays 9.30 am to 1 pm)
Free identifications for up to six (6) specimens (or two hours' work) per year for members of the public, Friends of the Botanic Gardens and Trust Volunteers, after which commercial rates apply - however, please restrict your enquiry to no more than 12 specimens at any one time:
Note: inquirers with new, important or quality specimen(s) that we can add to the Herbarium collection, will not incur a fee for identification of the specimen(s).
(All charges include GST)
Public Reference Collection
Interested in identifying plants for yourself? This collection of pressed plants is available 9 am-4 pm Mon-Fri for you to identify your own plant collections by comparison with authenticated herbarium vouchers. A microscope and reference books are available, and we can also provide assistance with using the collection. The Public Reference Collection provides an educational resource that increases botanical knowledge and plant identification skills within the community.
Flora of New South Wales
This four-volume Flora of New South Wales helps both amateur and professional botanists to identify plant species that occur in New South Wales - both native and naturalised - and to be informed of their distribution within the State.
Botanical Information Service 2011-2012
Barbara Wiecek - Identification Botanist, Bob Coveny, Seanna McCune and Andrew Orme (BIS team)
The Botanical Information Service (BIS) provides plant identifications and botanical information to the general public free of charge and to government departments and ecological consultancies for a fee. Botanical advice includes poison and allergy information to veterinarians and the medical profession. We answered 3283 enquiries last year (over the counter, mail, email and telephone) and completed 86% of these within 7 days of receipt. BIS staff were happy to receive positive feedback from clients in the form of letters and emails (275).
BIS entered the law enforcement area again this year assisting with counter terrorism work by the Federal Police and a raid on a tobacco growing establishment by the Australian Tax Office. The Identifications Botanist continued her work as a methodology scrutineer for the Police Force’s Forensic Botanist. BIS also identified Cannabis specimens for the NSW police (20 cases).
BIS field work resulted in over 350 specimens added to the herbarium collection. Bob Coveny and Andrew Orme conducted field work in the Upper Nepean State Conservation area as well as a number of day trips with herbarium ecologists doing vegetation surveys for research into effect of rainfall and altitude on species composition (Biodiversity & Adaptation Transect Sydney). Barbara Wiecek again accompanied Marianne Porteners a consultant employed by NPWS to two newly declared National Parks on the Central Western Slopes, Jindalee NP and Bendick Murrell NP in the Young district to survey the vegetation.
BIS staff spotted 260 specimens considered rare or of regional significance from enquiries which were incorporated into our herbarium collection. Another 297 specimens of general importance were also retained. New records for the state included the weeds Hedychium coronarium, Asparagus falcatus, Callianthe picta, A. megapotamicum, Broussonetia papyrifera, Cyperus curvistylis and Callisia repens and extensions of range by two nationally signicant weeds Alternanthera philoxeroides and Miconia calvescens (a very invasive weed from the tropics).
The Public Reference Collection volunteer Ena Middleton and the Identifications Botanist added over 120 specimens to the collection during the year. Ena also mounted and incorporated all the additions to the ID Counter reference set, our ready reference mini-herbarium at BIS.
Photos: Andrew Orme