Collecting plants

For a conservation ecologist, an ability to identify the major and/or common native plants is very important. In some cases it is impossible to identify species in the field. In these instances, you may need to take a good series of photographs or, in rare instances, collect a small specimen.

Plant collection has caused a decline in many species which is why the Network recommends using photographic evidence as a first measure when trying to identify plants - see Plant Collection (Threats) section of this website.

Herbarium specimens are permanent records of a plant observation at a particular site. They may be useful to verify the identity of a plant. If you intend to collect plant material, you should follow the Network's guidelines.


A collecting permit is required by law if you want to collect plant material from certain areas (e.g., national parks, forest / conservation parks, and scientific, scenic, nature, wildlife and special purpose reserves). Permission must also be sought in order to collect from places such as public gardens, council plantings, exotic plantation forest, private land etc.

Permits/permission can be obtained from the appropriate administering authority (e.g., Department of Conservation, district or regional councils, forestry companies, private owners etc.)

This page last updated on 26 Sep 2012