FAQs - Your discoveries
1. Can you help me to identify a plant?
Visit the Plant ID section of this website. Or you can try working it out yourself first. Consult botanical books in your local library. Use the flora information on this website to compare photographs and read descriptions. Visit the on-line Flora Series via the species pages of this website for full botanical descriptions. If you are still having trouble with identification then ask an expert. You can also email a photograph to the Network and we will try to tell you what it is.
Usually plants can be identified by a clear digital photo which includes all flowers or seeds or other unusual features of a plant. Museums, DOC, Regional Councils and Crown Research Institutes employ botanists who can help with plant identification. Botanical experts (amateur and professional) are often members of local Botanical Societies and are always keen to share their knowledge.
2. Can I help save threatened plants by growing them in my garden?
Unfortunately, the answer in most cases is no. The goal of plant conservation is to maintain the genetic resources of threatened plants in order to restore them to the wild.
Genetic diversity is usually much greater in plant populations growing in the wild. Plants grown in gardens will experience different kinds of genetic shifts than those grown under wild conditions, because they won't experience the same interactions with soil, animals, weather, and other natural phenomena. Germinating and cultivating threatened plants to maintain wild levels of diversity is carried out by trained conservation botanists under strict controls that cannot be duplicated in a backyard garden. Garden versions of threatened plants might even alter the genetics of the wild population if they're close enough to be cross-pollinated.
On the other hand, a garden of native threatened plants is a great way to celebrate local natural heritage and advocate the plight of threatened plants. It is also an important way to learn more about the plants ecology that can be helpful to people managing that plant in the wild.
3. I think I've got a rare or threatened plant in my garden - can you help?
Check the NZPCN website, or send a good quality digital photo to a local expert, to confirm the identification.
4. I have some bush on my land, how can I find out if I have any threatened plants?
Contact you local regional council for advice on what services they provide. If you have a QEII covenant contact your local regional representative. Local botanical societies are always looking for new places to visit and can provide you with a list of all plants on your land.
5. I have some bush on my land, how can I legally protect it?
Contact your local council, the Department of Conservation or the Queen Elizabeth Open Space Trust to discuss establishing a conservation covenant on your land. Once your land is protected with a covenant you are eligible for more assistance for management from the New Zealand Biodiversity Condition and Advice Fund.
6. Who can help me manage threatened plants on my land?
If you know the threatened plant(s) you have on your land contact your local Department of Conservation office to ask for advice on management. If you have a QEII covenant contact your local regional representative.
7. I think I have found a nasty weed in my garden, what do I do?
Take a good quality digital photo and send it to a biosecurity officer at your regional council for confirmation. If you know what the weed is search the fact sheets on the Network website or visit regional council weed control databases for control techniques. Alternatively join your local Weedbusters group and take action (www.weedbusters.co.nz).
8. What does eco-sourcing mean and why should I do it?
Eco-sourcing is collecting seed from naturally occurring local vegetation for planting back into that same area. Eco-sourcing should be used in all restoration projects as plants are more likely to survive as they are suited to local conditions and it also helps preserve the distinctiveness or character of vegetation of an area. Read the network's Ecosourcing section of this website.
9. I would like to create a wildlife garden with threatened plants - where can I buy threatened indigenous plants (seed or plants)?
One of the Network sponsors is Oratia Native Plant Nursery in Auckland and they grow and sell over 1000 different species of indigenous plant. Links are provided to their website from the indigenous plant fact sheets on this site.
10. Does it matter if I plant threatened plants from another part of New Zealand in my garden?
Not generally. If you are close to a wild population of the threatened plant you have in your garden it would be best if you used eco-sourced material.