Rottnest Island herbarium set to be a fine specimen this time around

Judith Harvey, Cassyanna Gray and Elizabeth Rippey.
Judith Harvey, Cassyanna Gray and Elizabeth Rippey.

NEDLANDS resident Elizabeth Rippey is involved in Rottnest Island’s second herbarium in 20 years – but this time the specimens will be kept on the island and easily accessible for cross reference.

The first herbarium was created in 1998 and 400 specimens of about 200 species of island plants were found and housed in the WA Herbarium in Kensington.

Duplicate specimens were held by the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) in Welshpool.

The new herbarium on the island consists of about 350 specimens stored in 14 box files, with another 20 awaiting identification.

Mrs Rippey, a Rottnest Volunteer Guides Association member of 30 years, said the volunteers had found more species the second time around.

“We found 18 species, including seven we hadn’t found before and half were natives which is funny because they would have been there before,” she said.

“This could be a result of directly targeting things we didn’t find the first time.

“Some weeds weren’t found this time so hopefully they’ve been killed off because we’ve been actively eradicating them.”

RIA conservation officer Cassyanna Gray said the herbarium was useful for identification purposes and vegetative propagation.

“It’s a resource that feeds our management and we can see if new weeds have been introduced,” she said.

The most recent herbarium is nearly complete with several ring binders filled with pressed and labelled plant specimens to be handed over to the RIA soon.

More than 20,000 volunteers have contributed about $40,000 worth of work to the herbarium.