You may have noticed the gorgeous acacias out in bloom at the moment. It can be a challenge to identify some of these local species if you are just starting out. There are a few resources that are helpful with not only identification, locations, seed collection, storage and propagation.
On an Australia-wide basis, Greening Australia’s Florabank provides a comprehensive overview of species. Because much of our Australian seed requires some sort of process prior to storage to prevent contamination, insect attack or to promote drying, Florabank have guidelines to help with this preparation to make seed as viable as possible.
If you are challenged when it comes to recording notes in a diary or just the simple day to day stuff, seed collection may not be for you. It is important to keep a record of where and when you collect seed, the number of plants that you sourced seed from and the condition of the plant.
Obviously when people are collecting any seed, cuttings etc, it is not only against the law to go onto someone elses property and just nick something, but it is just bad manners.
If that special something is just learking on the other side of the fence and it would be an easy, subtle snatch and grab, just don’t do it! Usually people are more than happy that someone has admired something in their garden and would be happy to give you a cutting, just ask.
The same rules apply in the bush. Before you launch into any large scale seed collection, you need to check with the relevant authority for that piece of land.
The Model Code of Practice for community-based collectors and suppliers of native plant seed is a good recourse to assist in giving your project some boundaries and guidelines for collection and also provides a guide to areas that you should be sourcing seed from to make sure that seed is not over-collected.
For our local reference, the Greening Australia book A Practical Guide to Revegetation in the Mid Lachlan Region is a great reference tool and compliments information in the Native Vegetation Resource Package for the Mid Lachlan Region. This guide has an emphasis on information that is relevant to the practical revegetation of priority vegetation types within the mid Lachlan Region. This book was published in 2003 and can be difficult to lay your hands on, but I will put some links on our blog that might be helpful.
I have referenced the Flora and Fauna of the Parkes Shire, which is also a great, local resource that I keep with me, with information relevant to both Parkes and Forbes Shires.
There was a good little segment on Gardening Australia last weekend on seed smoking to activate the seed, with Professor Kingsley Dixon, who worked as Director Science for 31 years at Kings Park in Perth. An interesting watch if you get the chance. Visit centralwestlachlanlandcare.org. Until next week, happy Landcaring!