Eucalyptus flower.

Taxonomy and evolution

CSIRO can provide the latest in plant taxonomy information to assist in the understanding of the biodiversity of Australian plants and their evolutionary processes.

  • 22 March 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

CSIRO has significant expertise in applying taxonomic and evolutionary knowledge to:

• understand, maintain and protect Australia’s unique biodiversity
• contribute a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships between plants
• develop information delivery systems for taxonomic knowledge.

What we do

CSIRO uses a range of traditional and molecular techniques to classify plant species.

These techniques can be used to provide the latest, and in some cases, only critical revision of classifications of Australian plants.

CSIRO uses a range of traditional and molecular techniques, to provide the latest classifications of Australian plants

How we use it

Our knowledge of Australian plants feeds into management and conservation techniques for Australia’s biodiversity, helping to:

• manage catchment systems
• control weeds
• monitor the effects of introduced plant species
• rehabilitate the Australian landscape with native plants.

We have developed a number of innovative taxonomic information delivery systems. These computer-based interactive identification and information keys provide a simple and comprehensive method of plant identification. Keys currently available include: EUCLID, a key to Australian eucalypts; Australian Orchid Genera; and Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants, which provides information on the trees, vines and shrubs of Australia’s tropical rainforest areas.

More direct access to the information stored in the Australian National Herbarium and other major Australian herbaria is progressively becoming available through Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, a national initiative designed to make information housed in Australian herbaria available via the internet.

Our facilities

CSIRO is associated with the Australian National Herbarium (ANH), a facility containing over 1.4 million plant specimens mainly from Australia.

CSIRO is also equipped with laboratories for molecular analyses.

Who else is involved?

CSIRO works with research organisations including universities and government departments.

We are also part of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, a joint venture with the Department of the Environment and Water Resources, which undertakes scientific research on conservation, management and sustainable use of the Australian flora.

Related information sheets

Related scientific papers