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Australia to Bank Its Wealth of Flora

SYDNEY, Nov 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The world is richer thanks to the newly opened Australian PlantBank, a wise investment that will conserve Australia's flora and guarantee priceless returns, according to a new YouTube feature.

"With over 22 million people we might not have the largest population in the world, but Australia is ranked fifth on this planet for its plant megabiodiversity," said Dr Brett Summerell, A/Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

"There are over 25,000 native plant species in Australia and 5,810 in New South Wales.  In NSW alone 611 species are considered rare or endangered. 

"Australia is also home to 14 per cent of threatened plant species globally and almost a quarter of that 14 per cent is in danger of becoming extinct.

"The Australian PlantBank will eventually collect, store and study viable seeds or live tissue specimens of all plant species in Australia," he said.

"Seed and plant material will be protected in thermally efficient refrigerated vaults designed to withstand fire for up to four hours and other threats."

Dr Summerell encouraged people of all ages to check out the new YouTube feature http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1ks_3YQjlc and consider visiting the state-of-the art facility.

"The Australian PlantBank will play a vital role in plant conservation and gives the public access to plant science and scientists at the forefront of conservation research," he said.

"There's the mini museum of intrigues in the form of the Diversity Wall with over 200 elements in the interpretation and cabinets of curiosities which explore the economic, ecological and ethno-botanical uses of plants. For example, Aborigines once used sap from eucalyptus trees to plug holes in their teeth and in the 18th Century, tea in China was worth more than gold."

Dr Summerell said knowing more about plants and conserving biodiversity is vital.

"Plants have untapped potential for pharmaceutical application and we can not even predict what our future fibre needs could be," he said.

The Australian PlantBank is nestled at Australia's largest botanic garden, the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan in NSW.  It is administered by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. 

For more information about the Australian PlantBank visit: 

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SOURCE Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

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