The York Regional Herbarium was established by the River Conservation Society in 1992. The Herbarium is a repository of local flora collected on private bushland and Crown Reserves in the Shire of York. It is currently in storage and will shortly be installed in the Herbarium Room in our new Environmental Discovery Centre in York.

The establishment of a regional herbarium is an important step in identifying and recording plant diversity for historical and future scientific reference. It is an ideal aid for identifying and selecting plants endemic to areas chosen for revegetation projects, or for further scientific research to be undertaken to establish and identify flora diversity and bioecological relationships within areas of ecological significance.

Photo: Darwinia thymoides subsp. St Ronans. Photographer Fred and Jean Hort
Darwinia thymoides subsp. St Ronans – Priority Four Flora
Photographers: Fred and Jean Hort

The Shire of York is blessed with a rich diversity of flora, including a significant number of threatened and priority plants, including Stylidium, Darwinia, Thomasia, Lechenaultia and Acacia. The York Regional Herbarium holds specimens collected from all the significant remnant bushland blocks in York, such as Mt. Bakewell, Wallaby Hills and Mt Ronan Reserves and a large number of Crown reserves. In recent times members of the River Conservation Society have rediscovered, photographed and recorded several “near threatened” or Priority Four plants in the Shire of York and this work is continuing.

Herbarium Sample: Corymbia calophylla Marri
Herbarium Sample: Corymbia calophylla Marri

Before a plant specimen can be brought into the York Herbarium collection it must be pressed flat until it is absolutely dry. In this state it will retain as much as possible the original colouring and important features of the plant. Specimens are identified by botanists from the Western Australian Herbarium then they are mounted on flat foolscap card, covered with a protective sleeve and filed in lever-arch files.

The York Herbarium currently holds in excess of 2,500 specimens of local flora which have been logged into a database by Audrey Sole. The database includes plant descriptions, soil types and their locations, work is continuing to include a library of photographs for each specimen. The database will eventually be made available to the public and will also form the basis of an up to date, online, digital FloraBase of local species, this is currently a work in progress. The aim of this work by the R.C.S. is to offer an important record and research tool and to assist in the preservation and conservation of the huge diversity of native flora found in the Shire of York, many of which are located in small areas of vulnerable remnant bushland.