Plant taxonomy and evolution

We explore the latest in plant taxonomy information to better understand the biodiversity of Australian plants and their evolutionary processes.

The Challenge

Protecting Australia's ecosystem

Australia has unique plant biodiversity that we must conserve and protect. 

A better understanding our native plants and their evolutionary processes is key to managing our biodiversity and ecosystem.

Our Response

Gaining knowledge on Australian plants

We use a range of traditional and molecular analysis techniques to classify plant species.

We classify new plant species.

These techniques can be used to provide the latest, and in some cases, only critical revision of classifications of Australian plants.

Our knowledge of Australian plants feeds into management and conservation techniques for Australia’s biodiversity, helping to:

  • manage catchment systems
  • control weeds
  • monitor the effects of introduced plant species
  • rehabilitate the Australian landscape with native plants.

We have developed a number of innovative taxonomic information delivery systems. These computer-based interactive identification and information keys provide a simple and comprehensive method of plant identification.

Our research draws on the Australian National Herbarium’s collection and database of 1.4 million plant specimens.

Case studies

  • Protecting native orchids

    We have developed the most comprehensive reference guide for Australian orchids which can be used for identifying different varieties and ensuring their conservation.

  • Revealing the world of tiny plants

    Research undertaken through the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research has led to a better understanding of the world of the tiny and ancient bryophytes.

  • Identifying eucalypts made easy

    We’ve made identifying Australian eucalypts easy with a comprehensive reference guide and new information system covering all Australian eucalypts.

  • Displaying the acacia family tree

    We created an interactive display of Australia’s floral emblem – the wattle – to show how each species of acacia is related.


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