'Irreplaceable' Rare Flowers Burned Due to Paperwork

Biosecurity officials in Australia destroyed collection from Paris
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2017 4:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – A priceless and "irreplaceable" collection of pressed flowers from France encountered biosecurity officials in Australia recently—and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris is not happy about what happened next. The box of rare daisies collected in the 1850s—which was being shipped to the Queensland Herbarium for research purposes, per the Australian Broadcasting Corporation—was incinerated by quarantine officials who said the paperwork had been filled out incorrectly, the BBC reports. Michelle Waycott, chair of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, says the French museum is upset about the destruction of the collection, which may have come from a habitat that no longer exists.

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Waycott tells the ABC that the daisy destruction comes just weeks after lichen specimens from New Zealand bound for the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra were destroyed by overzealous biosecurity officers at another port of entry. Herbaria experts "rely on sharing specimens from all over the world to be able to do our science," says Waycott. She adds the New Zealand facility has now banned sending specimens to Australia and she expects Paris to do the same. Australian biosecurity officials admit the specimens shouldn't have been destroyed and say they're looking into the incidents. (A Swiss tourist soon regretted sneaking her cat into Iceland.)

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