The following is an example of the sort of seed collecting trip that our tree team undertake 

Callitris oblonga – Tasmania’s Vulnerable Cypress

The island of Tasmania, Australia, is well known for its endemic fauna, e.g. the Tasmanian Devil and the now extinct Thylacine, but its flora is less well known.  We know it has over 200 endemic flowering plants and only 8 endemic conifers, of which Callitris oblonga is one.  There are just 3000-4000 individuals of this species left on mainland Tasmania and young plants are constantly under threat from exotic species, fire, flooding and overgrazing.  Therefore, in 2004, it fell to Dan Luscombe and associates to explore the overlooked flora of Tasmania and collect seed from the Vulnerable Callitris oblonga, also known as the South Esk Pine (although, it is not technically a Pine).

Untitled 2Dan managed to collect 30,000 seeds (pictured) from various locations, most of which are now at the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place.  (He was also lucky enough to have good views of a wild Duck Billed Platypus – not a common sight at all).  Other seeds are now being propagated in the UK and will be planted at various gardens.  This is the first time the species has been subject to ex-situ conservation measures.

As with all the seed collecting trips, one crucial aspect is to establish partnerships with the respective Botanical gardens and collections.  The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens were of great assistance during this trip and Dan could not have learned all that he did without their help.