Which Plant Where is a free online tool which helps select climate-appropriate plant species for urban landscape projects.
Which Plant Where is a culmination of five years of research investigating which horticultural species will survive in Australian urban landscapes, not only now but under future climates.
The plant-selection tool is underpinned by scientific evidence, providing growers, nurseries, landscape architects and urban greening professionals with integrated tools and resources to develop resilient and sustainable urban green spaces for the future.
The research which contributed to the Which Plant Where project was divided into three modules, each investigating unique challenges and opportunities associated with creating and maintaining urban green spaces. Findings from all three modules have been instrumental for the development of the tool.
Module 1: Species attributes and climatic tolerances
This module focused on the creation of maps for each species in the tool to identify areas suitable for the species to grow in, under both current and future climates. These maps were created using state of the art modelling techniques which utilised species occurrence records and climatic data to extrapolate the most suitable growing regions for species under a variety of climate scenarios. To complement the maps, a database of useful attributes such as tolerances, size, form and biodiversity benefits was created to help users select the most appropriate species for their urban green spaces.
Module 2: Success and failures
This module related success and failures of urban street tree plantings with local conditions such as climate as well as planting and management techniques to help improve the success of our urban forests. Measurements of plant performance across Local Government Areas with contrasting climates were made to assess plant species’ plasticity to growing conditions. A series of urban plantings called ‘living labs’ of different complexities (e.g. single/few species vs mixed communities) were set up in different states across the country to understand biodiversity, shading and cooling co-benefits provided by urban green spaces.
Module 3: Heat and drought tolerant species
This module subjected a sample of 113 species and cultivars to controlled heatwave and drought conditions in state of the art glasshouses to help understand the abilities of different plant species to withstand extreme conditions. These study species were a mixture of well-known and commonly found horticultural species as well as opportunity species that may be well suited to extreme conditions. Traits such as wilting point, leaf critical temperature, leaf thickness and leaf area were measured to help predict which species will be heat and drought tolerant.
Learn more at whichplantwhere.com.au.