Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Horticultural Research

Our horticultural research facilities are located at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. The facilities include a tissue culture laboratory, seed drying and storage rooms, growth cabinets, climate controlled glasshouses and several shadehouses. Research undertaken in these facilities is centered on the conservation and horticulture of Australian plants, particularly threatened species and species with economic potential. The research includes work on cultivation requirements, reproductive strategies and seed biology, and is closely allied with the NSW Seedbank and the Centre for Plant Conservation.

Horticultural research aids in the management of threatened species by providing information on factors affecting their growth, reproduction and dispersal. Such information is essential to effective conservation, whether in situ or ex situ. Our work on the Wollemi pine, for example, has increased our understanding of the environmental factors affecting germination and growth in the wild, and has enabled the establishmenet of a substantial ex situ population. Similarly, work on the symbiotic germination of terrestrial orchid seed has led to the development of a useful method for propagating individuals for restoration programs.

Horticultural research also provides valuable information on the propagation and cultivation Australian plants for the nursery and floriculture industries. The overall aim of this research is to bring a range of native plant species into cultivation and thus contribute to the conservation of biodiversity by increasing community appreciation of the Australian flora, and by reducing the occurrence of bush-harvesting.

Current programs & projects

Our team


Science staff  

  • Katharine Catelotti (Technical Officer)
  • Dr Nathan Emery (Scientific Officer)
  • Dr Karen Sommerville (Scientific Officer) - Restoration Biology Officer, Horticultural Research
  • Amanda Rollason (Technical Officer)  - Rainforest Seed Project
  • Veronica Viler  (Research Horticultural Assistant)

Honorary Research Associate



Tackling the Olive forest - a large mechanical chipping machine devouring a 20 year old African olive (Olea europaea ssp. cuspidata) forest at the Australian Botanic Garden. Remnant eucalypts can be seen above the dense olive canopy. Photo: Peter Cuneo

Pterostylis concinna. Photo: Andrew Orme

Collecting seed at Tibooburra - Abutilon leucopetalum, Photo: Andrew Orme

Caladenia catenata
Caledenia catenata. Photo: John Siemon

Toechima dasyrrhache
Toechima  dasyrrhache fruit. Photo: Kim Hamilton

Castanospermum australe Black bean
Castanospermum australe Black Bean. Photo: Kim Hamilton