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800,000 milestones for WA Herbarium

The 800,000th specimen was mounted and accessioned into the Western Australian Herbarium's collection of plants, algae and fungi today. Herbarium staff celebrated appropriately with cake and morning tea.

Herbarium staff, volunteers and research associates celebrating the accession of the 800,000th specimen

The 800,000 specimens provide foundational knowledge of the flora of Western Australia - what species occur in the state, where they occur, and what their conservation status is. This knowledge in turn underpins the work of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, of which the Herbarium is a part, to conserve and manage the biodiversity of the state.

The Western Australian Herbarium is a medium-sized collection compared with other Australian herbaria. Unlike many other herbaria, its collection is very targeted and focused, mostly comprising plants from the state - it holds by far the world's largest collection of Western Australian plants, algae and fungi, and of course Western Australia comprises a third of Australia and has a very rich biodiversity.

And the 800,00th specimen is – the very rare Stenanthera pungens, a member of the family Ericaceae restricted to a small area near Nyabing in the southwest of WA. The specimen was collected by Herbarium volunteers Geoff and Ruth Byrne, who travel the state collecting and photographing plants for the Herbarium and its Florabase website.

The very rare Stenanthera pungens. Photo (c) Geoff & Ruth Byrne

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