Due to very high fire danger conditions today, Naturescape is closed and Kings Park afternoon guided walks may be cancelled.

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Kings Park staff featured on ABC's Catalyst, Thursday 15 September to discuss the amazing discovery linking cyanide poison to WA's floral emblem.

Kings Park scientists, in conjunction with The University of Western Australia, have had a scientific breakthrough with a new ecological role for naturally occurring cyanide. In work that could aid regeneration of bushfire-affected landscapes, it has been found that the germination of seeds of the red and green kangaroo paw is greatly stimulated by the poison cyanide.

ARC Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Gavin Flematti and colleagues of The University of Western Australia's School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, along with collaborators from Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Murdoch University, discovered the link and first published the work in June this year in Nature Communications.

'We found when plants burn, they produce a substance that, after rain, hydrolyses to release cyanide. We realised that cyanide is an important cue in landscape regeneration after fires, in a diverse range of fire-responsive plant species from different continents', Dr Flematti said.

'Cyanide is well known for its toxicity towards many organisms, and it's known that many plants use it as a defence against herbivores but, until now, we hadn't understood its role in plant growth and ecosystem regeneration.
'Many terrestrial ecosystems are subject to cycles of fire and regeneration, suggesting that this role of cyanide must have helped to shape the evolution of land plants, landscapes and whole ecosystems.'

Dr Flematti, along with Professor Emilio Ghisalberti, had also discovered the role of karrikins, a class of compounds in bushfire smoke that also promote germination. However, the kangaroo paw is a species that does not respond to karrikins.

'We now find that many plant species respond to both karrikins and cyanide, while some respond to only one, such as the kangaroo paw', Dr Flematti said.

The research was the focus of a report on Catalyst Thursday, 15 September, 2011. ABC reporters visited the labs and glasshouses in Kings Park and viewers got a chance to explore the research of our experienced staff inside the Biodiversity Conservation Centre. You can watch it and/or read the transcript via the ABC website archive.

Law Walk closure

Kings Park visitors are advised that Law Walk will be closed from Tuesday 15 January to Wednesday 23 January 2019, due to essential maintenance.

Australia Day 2019

Road closures and service interruptions will occur in Kings Park and Bold Park from Saturday 26 January to Sunday 27 January, 2019.

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Family-friendly fun in 2019

Zippy's Kings Park Adventures is now open for 2019 bookings, so don’t miss this popular new program for little nature lovers aged three to five years!

Aboriginal tourism plans

Expressions of interest for local businesses to run new Aboriginal tourism and cultural experiences in Kings Park have now closed.

Become a Friend

Plant sales, movie nights, discounts and more – now is a great time to join the Friends of Kings Park and make a difference to the WA environment and our most beautiful park.

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