A Crown research institute has temporarily banned sending rare plant specimens to Australia after biosecurity officers destroyed a collection of lichen.
Landcare Research operates the Allan Herbarium near Christchurch which collects native and exotic plants and makes them available to researchers.
The herbarium’s keeper Ilse Breitwieser said it found out last week Australian biosecurity officers had destroyed lichen specimens from the 1930s – destined for the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra.
Dr Breitwieser said it had put a temporary ban on sending specimens.
“Very significant loss.
It’s an irreplaceable collection – it has high historic and scientific value and it has a major impact on the research because very important specimens got destroyed’.