Here at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney our love of plants goes well beyond the garden – even as far as the big screen. To get us in the mood for the upcoming screening of cult classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! at The Calyx for the Tomato Festival Sydney, we asked some of our experts about their favourite botanical baddies and buddies. Let's check them out:
"The Krynoid from Doctor Who Seeds of Doom - a kind of galactic weed that settles on planets and eats the animal life. Gotta love a seed that germinates and absorbs the grower or the hapless butler near it and then starts to get plants to kill people in various horrible ways before growing into a very tall and mobile plant" Dr Marco Duretto, Manager, Senior Research Scientist.
A couple of spoilers here from Marco, but true Whovians will be familiar with this Tom Baker classic. A real-life Doctor himself, Marco studies plant diversity including evolutionary biology, botany and taxonomy.
The Big Bad Banksia Men
From our Science & Conservation team we talked to Lesley Elkan, who works at the Garden to document the flora of NSW and beyond. We also spoke to Dr Kerry Gibbons who is currently using genetic data to understand the classification and evolution of plants.
"The Big Bad Banskia Men by May Gibbs. Freaked me out as a child but also inspired my interest in and love of Australian natives and Banksias in particular" Lesley Elkan, Botanical Illustrator.
"I grew up on a bush block near Ku ring gai National Park, and we had a couple of old, gnarled Banksia serrata (Old-man Banksia) in our front garden. This is almost certainly the species May Gibbs depicted in her illustrations" Dr Kerry Gibbons, Scientific Officer.
Kerry and Leslie agree that the scariest part of their Australian childhood wasn’t snakes or crocodiles – it was the Big Bad Banksia Men from May Gibbs!