Planting seeds of knowledge on Christmas Island

Tom North (left) teaches Roslan Sani and Adijah Bingham the float test, to determine seed viability

Tom North (left) teaches Roslan Sani and Adijah Bingham the float test, to determine seed viability

Joe McAuliffe (right) demonstrates nursery techniques

Joe McAuliffe (right) demonstrates nursery techniques

 

Growing up to 30,000 rainforest trees per year is quite a challenge, especially a couple of dozen different native species… on a remote tropical island! In February, Australian National Botanic Gardens’ nursery manager Joe McAuliffe and seed bank manager Tom North flew out to Christmas Island to share their expertise with members of the Christmas Island Minesite to Forest Rehabilitation (CIMFR) program.

Joe and Tom crammed a huge amount into a week – covering everything from nursery hygiene to germination and propagation techniques, and plant nutrition. We also collected seed of some iconic Christmas Island species to send back to the gardens. Hopefully we will see some representatives in the seed bank and the gardens in time. We also learned (the hard way!) not to collect seeds of the Christmas Island palm tree Arenga listeri when the fruit is immature. That sap sure is itchy!

Alasdair, Christmas Island National Park

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