Perth Zoo’s founder Mr Le Souef and the Perth Zoo’s first Head Gardener, Henry Steedman, spent a lot of time carefully planning the Zoo’s garden and their hard work (and green thumbs) have paid off! From rare and critically endangered plant species to a very royal approval, Perth Zoo’s botanical garden is just as fascinating as the animals.
Norfolk Pine Trees – a royal gift
Just past the top of the Australian Bushwalk you’ll notice two Norfolk Pine Trees (Araucaria heterphylla) standing tall and proud. And so they should! Planted in 1901, they are almost as old Perth Zoo! But it’s not just their age that makes them so special.
In the summer of 1901, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, later known as King George V and Queen Mary, took a barge across the river from the city with these two pines in tow and planted one each at the top the Zoo where they still proudly stand today.
Chilean Wine Palm – a very rare plant
Henry had a dream to have a collection of palm trees included in the botanical gardens of the Zoo. Keeping the heart of the Zoo in mind, conservation and preserving the beauty of the natural world, he campaigned to have the very rare and increasingly vulnerable Chilean Wine Palm which back in 1912 was being over logged for the sap inside. You can still see these palms in the Zoo today!
Hibiscus Insularis – critically endangered beauty
Little Penguins aren’t the only beautiful species to be found on Phillip Island. Located near the Zoo lockers is the critically endangered Hibiscus Insularis, aka the Philliip Island Hibiscus. This plant species is native to Phillip Island and during winter, the Hibiscus flowers begin to blossom and show off their striking colour change (if you needed another reason to visit the Zoo 😉).
Cycads – Dinosaur trees
If you think poaching is only a problem for animals, think again. The Cycads biggest threat includes being poached from the wild for private collections and land clearing for development, with almost 62% of the world’s cycads at risk of extinction. At the Zoo you can find the Kisambo Cycad and the Lebombo Cycad, both endangered Cycads on the Oak Lawn.