Lynden preserves our plant treasures

Lynden's love of flowers leads to National Herbarium

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NOT YOUR AVERAGE VOLUNTEER ROLE: Lynden White carefully mounts a valuable botanic specimen.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE VOLUNTEER ROLE: Lynden White carefully mounts a valuable botanic specimen.


Lynden White volunteers at the National Herbarium preserving our natural plant treasures for future generations.


When Lynden White retired she found a beautiful and original way to give back to the community.

Lynden began volunteering at the National Herbarium of New South Wales helping preserve for future generations, the world-renowned collection of over one million plant specimens.

For the past six years, Lynden has spent one day a week at the Herbarium creatively mounting dried plant specimens onto card, resulting in beautiful botanical layouts. These are then stored within the six protective Herbarium vaults to protect the priceless collection for hundreds of years to come.

"I have no previous botanical experience or training," said Lynden who lives in Balmain. "Just a lifelong love of flowers, plants and embroidery - an interest is all you need to begin.

"The time spent on a specimen varies greatly. Some may take 15 to 20 minutes and can be quite bulky, like a Banksia. Others are very delicate and might have several pieces to mount. These can take up to an hour.

"I feel honoured to be a part of such a rewarding and interesting volunteering program. To work with specimens that date as far back as 1700s is astonishing, you truly learn so much about plants whilst mounting them as well as working alongside Australia's leading botanists, it's really fascinating.

"The role is very diverse, involving science, history, nature, creativity and community, everyday is unique, opening each specimen reveals a new treasure or unexpected surprise that involves different thinking."

Previously located at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for nearly 170 years, the Herbarium has now opened at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Denise Ora, said, "Volunteering is one of the life bloods of our organisation and has been a part of the way we work for over 40 years.

Volunteer guides are also needed to lead walks through horticulture displays and the Australian PlantBank.