Live plant forms

Imported live plants can carry exotic pests and diseases that if introduced, could have devastating consequences for our agriculture, environment and economy. 

We set import conditions to manage these pest and disease risks. We determine these conditions based on whether the imported plant material are:

  • tissue cultures, or
  • another plant form.

Some plant species can only be imported in certain forms. Check the import conditions in BICON for permitted forms of the plant you intend to import. Do this before you apply for a permit.

Failure to identify the correct plant form may delay the processing of your permit application.

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Tissue cultures

Plant tissue culture, or micro-propagation, is a plant form that is prepared under aseptic conditions, reducing the risk of pests and pathogens.

This plant form allows for the rapid propagation of plants and is an ideal method for transporting plants between countries.

Tissue cultures are formed by taking a tiny piece of a plant tissue such as a stem tip or meristem and placing it in a sterile nutrient medium, sometimes containing plant hormones. The plant tissue is then incubated under artificial lighting to produce clones of the parent material.

Tissue culture can be imported into Australia:

Other plant forms

Following are different types of non-tissue culture plant forms. Identify the correct plant form from this list to minimise any delays in processing your permit application.

  • Bare-rooted plants           
  • Budwood
  • Bulbils
  • Bulbs
  • Corms
  • Cuttings
  • Grafting wood
  • Pips       
  • Rhizomes
  • Roots
  • Seedlings
  • Slips
  • Stems
  • Tubers  

Need help?

Email the Imports team or call 1800 900 090.

Last reviewed: 19 May 2021
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