Tuesday 16th February 2016: Preserving plants by collecting seeds

Today I set out with the botanists from the seed bank. It is fascinating what they do to collect seeds. We drove for many kilometres looking for suitable plants to collect. Even species that are common can be wiped out by a disaster such as a bushfire through the habitat. In the end we collected seeds from five different species. I was given a bag, a pair of secateurs and told to collect seeds from at least 50 trees of one common species. This ensures the seedbank has an almost complete genetic sample from that species in this area.

What plant is that  Branch

Along the way we stopped for some photos of the local trees. Unfortunately for them, I lost interest when I started looking at the local geology. This is a fascinating sample of conglomerate in the middle of a fossil field. Unfortunately for me, they didn't photograph well under the scrub.

Conglomerate  Fossil

My next task was to collect seeds from a microscopic grass like plant which grows around the lagoon. The problem was that I forgot to bring my glasses. I was crawling around on the ground feeling for these tiny hairlike stems which stand about 1cm high. Then I had to feel for the seed pods on the tips of some of the stems. They are minute. At the time it was drizzling rain, blowing at about 4 km/hr and the temperature wasn’t much above 10oC. After that, Natalie assured me that I would have no trouble seeing the next seeds. She didn’t tell me until we started that they were covered in enormous thorns. It was a lot of fun. All up today, my Fitbit recorded 15,000 steps and I am rather tired tonight.