Seychelles plant gallery -- a project for everyone


But, if you see a plant in a garden or in the forest and you do not know what it is – can you identify it?

There are several books on sale about plants of Seychelles, but much of the current information about local plants is in scientific books and papers. Many of these are difficult to access and tricky for the non-specialist to read.

Another source of information is the National Herbarium, but the pressed plants which form this collection are stored in a small room inside the Natural History Museum, and you need help with using them for identification purposes.

The internet may be of help but usually you need to know something about the plant before being able to look it up! So is there another way?

In the film you could also learn about the Herbarium Project being carried out by the local NGO, Plant Conservation Action group (PCA) in collaboration with the Natural History Museum in Victoria. This project is being funded mainly by a grant from the GEF Small Grants Programme and the Environment Trust Fund. One of the aims of the herbarium project is to provide you with an easier way to identify and learn more about the plants of Seychelles, both native and introduced. And the herbarium will soon become much more than just a collection of dried pressed plant specimens!

We are creating a “Seychelles Plant Gallery” – photographs and information about all the plants in the country, which you will be able to access through the internet or in the Natural History Museum. But at the moment there are still many gaps! We know little about new ornamental species which have been brought into the country in the past 30 years; we do not have records for many of the agricultural species, particularly the older varieties; some invasive species are spreading fast and some useful plant species are becoming rare - we need to know where these plants are located now as this will be valuable information for the future.

If we tried to fill all these gaps on our own it would take us several years and the money would not be enough, so this is where we need your help.  Many of you are very knowledgeable about the plants growing in your gardens and in your surroundings. So, if you help us, we can build up this information and a collection of photos together. Your contributions will be added to the Seychelles Plant Gallery, and we hope that it will become a useful tool for you also, a resource which you can use whenever you want. This project then becomes something special – it will be created by the people for the people.

Over the coming weeks we will provide more information about how you can contribute and which group of plants (or themes) to focus on each month. Also, watch out for the herbarium leaflet, a special printed edition of our newsletter “Kapisen” about the project, a plant photo competition and an exhibition about plants of Seychelles.

In the film, the Wildlife Club children shout “Yes Miss” when asked to take part. We hope that you will join us too. Even if you think that you don’t know very much, perhaps you have been curious about the strange plant on someone’s property or a new plant you hadn’t seen before. We want to know about that plant too – it might be something really interesting that we haven’t seen before either!

Contributed by the Plant Conservation Action group (PCA) and the Natural History Museum