The director of London's prestigious Kew Gardens will today join an expedition searching for rare or undiscovered plants, following the route of an 1854 journey into WA's Mid West.
The five-member team will include Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Luke Sweedman, plant collector for Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
Professor Hopper is the former director of Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
The expedition will revisit key points along the route taken by Robert Austin, who led the 1854 expedition into WA's interior and north to the Murchison River.
Professor Hopper said the area on the edge of the Wheatbelt was thought to be home to a species of eucalypt that was rarely found in the wild.
He said a specimen of eucalyptus caesia was held in the Natural History Museum in London.
Its collection location was given as Fraser Range in WA.
But Professor Hopper said that was believed to be an error and it was possible it was collected at Fraser Rocks, north of Mukinbudin. The expedition would go to Fraser Rocks in search of the plant.
Professor Hopper said the granite rocks in south-west Australia were among the richest on Earth for plant life and had many species found nowhere else.
He hoped the expedition might find rare plants and it was possible they might uncover new species.
Mr Sweedman wanted to collect cuttings for Kings Park and identify places to which he could return to collect seeds.
He said the Austin expedition stopped at many remote granite outcrops and the specimens it found would be a useful benchmark to compare with what remained.
The trip is expected to last 10 days and end at the Murchison River.
The book The Finest Goldfields in the World, published by Hesperian Press, recounts Austin's expedition. It says the party suffered from a gun accident, poison plants and thirst during the two-month journey to the Murchison.
It led to further exploration and the discovery of rich goldfields.