Natural Area News

A day in the life of a Seed Collector

The seed collection season is in full swing at Natural Area and we have a big team this year, licenced to collect seed throughout the Perth Metro Region as well as in regional locations.

Jackie has been with the Natural Area team since May 2020 and last season she was working as a licenced Seed Collector. This year, Jackie is leading the team and she reflected on some of her collection days last year.

December 14th, 2020

Seed of the Day: Banksia grandis

Monday morning, 7am, Beeliar Depot. I’ve been notified by my Supervisor and Senior Seed Collector Tshering that we are heading south of Perth for the day to collect certain Banksia species. I’m stoked. I have 60 kms, two takeaway coffees and an hour to incessantly quiz Tshering about the ins and outs of everything we’re going to look for today. She informs me we’re headed to a location to look specifically for Banksia grandis (Bull Banksia) and Banksia littoralis (Swamp Banksia) in a bid to fill a contract collection order for a local Client.

After arriving at the location (which I dropped a pin on for future collection years), we noticed a majority of the Banksia grandis cones, which are so stunningly identifiable due to their large size, shape and texture, had already opened and dropped their seed. Nevertheless, we shook a few trees, responsibly pruned some lower hanging cones, deposited them into a pillowcase, took a sample specimen and decided to move on to a new site.

December 15th, 2020

Seed of the Day: Hakea amplexicaulis

Reporting to the Whiteman depot this morning I am greeted by Taryn, the Seed Manager and am informed we’re headed east to look for Calothamnus sanguineus and a few other species for our nursery seed stock. This is my first time leaving the Swan Coastal Plain while seed collecting and I’m not sure how I’ll go applying my plant knowledge to a vastly different range of plants I’ve been thus exposed to.

Hakea amplexicaulis – or Prickly Hakea is a small shrub which we collected from the outskirts of Mundaring. Today I learnt and collected five different Hakea species and walked 11km. Today was a good day!

December 16th, 2020

Seed of the Day: Acanthocarpus preissii

Collecting for this relatively common coastal species involved laying down (not sleeping) for hours in the dunes from Quinns to Two Rocks. The seeds are smooth and round, but come out of what looks like small prickly balls. Warm was an understatement. It was immensely satisfying seeing sometimes literally dozens of the skittle sized yellowish seeds at the bottom of the plants, just sitting waiting in the sand for me.

By Jackie Van Spijk, Natural Area Seed Manager

Images

Xylomelum occidentale: the seed is on the left, it comes out of the woody piece on the right

Lomandra maritima: 5 hours spent crawling around in the dunes to collect these

Acanthocarpus preissii: from the coast, the seeds are smooth and round, but come out of the prickly balls

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