The Far South Coast Landcare Community Seedbank provides small quantities of local provenance seed for free to landholders in the Bega Valley Shire. The Seedbank is coordinated by Karen Walker who collects and processes seed from right across the local landscape, mostly in the hottest, driest months of the year, and stores it in a purpose-built cool room in Bega.
Why use local provenance seed? Plants from a particular area have evolved over a long period of time to suit local conditions such as climate (especially rainfall) and the area’s topography and soils. Therefore they have greater survival rates and need less care compared to the same species of plants that have evolved elsewhere.
Local provenance plants often have valuable genetic variations, showing clear physical differences such as flower colour and leaf shape, but they also may have genetic material whose benefits have not yet been quantified or even discovered – for example the ability to cope with drier conditions or more shade.
There is a strong interdependence between all the plants in an ecological community and between plants and the local native animals, insects, and micro-organisms with which they have evolved. Introducing plants/genes that evolved from outside the natural ecosystem risks upsetting this balance.
If you’re planning to revegetate your property and would like to grow your own plants using local provenance seed, contact Karen Walker on 0408 479 269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re buying native tube stock, ask whether your local nursery stocks plants grown from local provenance seed.
If you’d like to collect your own local native seed, have a look at Karen’s notes from her Native Seed Collection Workshop.