Sydney researchers Dr Kim Hamilton (left) and Leahwyn Seed are shown rainforest species by Friends of Lismore Botanic Gardens President, Jan DeNardi.
Sydney researchers Dr Kim Hamilton (left) and Leahwyn Seed are shown rainforest species by Friends of Lismore Botanic Gardens President, Jan DeNardi. The Northern Star

Lismore part of world seed hunt

VOLUNTEERS at the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens will be involved in a project Sir David Attenborough has called 'perhaps the most significant conservation initiative ever'.

The Millennium Seed Bank Project, run by the Kew Botanical Gardens in England, aims to collect seed stock from 10 per cent of the world's dry land flora by the year 2010.

Yesterday Jan DeNardi, President of the Friends of Lismore Botanic Gardens met Leahwyn Seed and Dr Kim Hamilton, from Mount Annan Botanic Gardens in Sydney, to talk about getting seeds from the North Coast. The seed would be stored by the NSW Seedbank and shared with the Millennium Seed Bank.

Dr Hamilton and Ms Seed are specifically interested in getting seeds from endangered fleshy fruit species so they can continue testing ways to dry them and store them in conventional seed banks.

“Seeds are generally dried and stored at temperatures between -18 and -20 degrees,” Ms Seed said.

“That's fine for lots of acacias and eucalypt species, but the fleshy fruits seeds such as lilly pillys generally can't be stored that way.”

However, they have already done some successful research with an endangered species known as the 'ripple-leaf mutton wood' which is known to occur in only three locations, one of them being a reserve at Boatharbour.

Most of the fleshy fruit rainforest species occur in Northern New South Wales and South-East Queensland, and Dr Hamilton is researching ways of storing them in conventional seed banks, and what can be done with the others.

The researchers also had talks at SCU on possible collaboration on parts of the project, and with other rainforest nursery owners.

The Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens are at the Wyrallah Road waste facility.



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