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Welcome to UK Native Seed

The UK Native Seed Hub aims to enhance the resilience and coherence of the UK's ecological network by increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of native plants and seeds available for conservation and habitat restoration.

Photo of UK native wildflower Adonis annua, Pheasants eye in flower

UK native wildflower Adonis annua, Pheasants eye

We will do this by:

  • providing high quality UK native plant material for conservation and habitat restoration use
  • supporting UK native seed and plant producers, conservation organisations and others through the provision of training, technical advice and research
  • building awareness and demand for best practice habitat restoration and conservation using high quality UK native plant materials

About the UK Native Seed Hub

The UK Native Seed Hub was launched as part of Kew’s response to decades of habitat loss and fragmentation in the UK. We are helping to overcome barriers to successful conservation and habitat restoration in the UK.

The challenge

Succisa pratensis with bee

Succisa pratensis

Since the mid-twentieth century, species-rich habitats in the UK have been destroyed or degraded at an alarming rate. In some cases the losses have been catastrophic: over 97% of lowland grassland in England and Wales has been lost in the last 75 years, with profound consequences for biodiversity and the ability of ecosystems to sustain services essential for human well-being and prosperity.

Surviving patches of habitat are unsustainably small and fragmented, vulnerable to further degradation in the face of a changing climate and ever-growing demands on the natural environment.

In the ground-breaking 2010 report, Making Space for Nature, Sir John Lawton and colleagues set out an ambitious new strategy for conservation. To rebuild nature on a landscape scale, creating coherent and resilient ecological networks to expand and link existing habitats with buffer zones, wildlife corridors and areas of active restoration and habitat creation.

The approach outlined in the Lawton report has been widely integrated into government policy, but delivering this strategy will depend on the availability of a diverse range of high quality, UK native-origin seed.

Research commissioned by Kew into the supply of British native seed has revealed a number of issues with the potential to impact on the creation of a coherent and resilient ecological network in the UK.

Photo of UK Comarum palustre, Marsh cinquefoil in flower

UK native wildflower Comarum palustre, Marsh cinquefoil

These include:

  • a number of desirable species are missing from the commercial market, with others sourced from a narrow geographical range
  • some of the seeds and plants marketed as UK native may be sourced abroad
  • seed quality is variable and largely untested, with mixed awareness of best practice standards in seed harvesting, processing and storage
  • awareness and understanding of the importance of native seed is mixed, with limited demand for high quality products and the additional costs and lead-in times they may require
  • controls on the use of non-native plant material in habitat restoration are limited

Our response

The UK Native Seed Hub is our response to these concerns, mobilising Kew’s unique resources and expertise in support of Sir John’s vision of a Britain where 'biodiversity is enhanced and the diversity, functioning and resilience of ecosystems re-established'.

This was made possible by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, as Kew was one of the 15 organisations selected to receive a gift marking their 50th birthday.

Request high quality seed from the UK Native Seed Hub

Digitalis purpurea (foxglove) seeds

Digitalis purpurea (foxglove) seeds

Our upcoming online trading platform will offer access to high quality native seed for use in UK conservation and habitat restoration projects.

The new trading platform that will enable users to search UK native seed collections held in the Millennium Seed Bank, register online and request seed. Seed will be available for bona fide conservation or restoration use only, in quantities suitable for direct use in small-scale projects. For larger projects where we cannot provide seed in sufficient quantities ourselves, bulking up may be subcontracted externally.

Contact us to discuss your native seed requirements: seedhub@kew.org.

Expert services and consultancy from UK Native Seed Hub

Snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)

We offer a range of specialist services to support all those interested in the conservation and use of UK native plants. Our services and consultancy offer expert advice and support for biodiversity enhancement, seed conservation and habitat restoration activities.

Would you like your work to be underpinned by Kew’s world-class botanical, horticultural, ecological and seed conservation expertise? We provide a range of services which can be packaged according to your requirements.

The UK Native Seed Hub can offer:

  • ecological advice for conservation and habitat restoration projects
  • horticultural advice on landscape design and plant selection
  • vegetation survey and monitoring
  • bespoke seed collecting, processing and storage to international standards
  • technical advice and training on seed collection, processing and storage
  • advice on the design and construction of seed processing and storage facilities
  • seed quality testing
  • high quality seed for species reintroduction and habitat-scale projects

Ecological advice for conservation and habitat restoration projects

If you are a land owner or manager interested in enhancing biodiversity, from simple land management changes to the active restoration of species and habitats, we may be able to help.

Please email us to find out more: seedhub@kew.org.

Horticultural advice on landscape design and native species selection, propagation and establishment

Kew can help you create beautiful and bio-diverse places for nature and people, underpinned by our in-depth knowledge of native species and world-leading horticultural expertise.

Please email us to find out how we can help: seedhub@kew.org.

Vegetation survey and monitoring

Conservation management depends on a thorough and accurate understanding of the species present at a site and how they respond to changing conditions and management practices. We can develop and undertake survey and monitoring programs from a species list to a full NVC survey, with expert reports tailor-made to help meet your conservation objectives.

Please email us to find out how we can help: seedhub@kew.org.

Bespoke seed collecting, processing and storage to international standards

Please email us to find out how we can assist with seed collecting, processing and storage: seedhub@kew.org.

Technical advice and training on seed collection, processing and storage

Learn how to make your own seed collections and process and store them for future use.

Please email us to find out about the specialist training we provide: seedhub@kew.org.

Advice on the design and construction of seed processing and storage facilities

Are you a business or landowner that already collects and stores seeds, but would like to improve or expand your facilities? The UK Native Seed Hub can carry out an assessment of your existing facilities and offer a range of planning and design services for improving them. 

Please email us to find out how we can help: seedhub@kew.org.

Seed quality testing

The Millennium Seed Bank has unparalleled expertise in seed quality testing of wild plant species. Our methods include:

  • digital x-ray testing of seed purity
  • setting up germination tests informed by local climate data
  • biochemical tests of seed viability eg tetrazolium chloride
  • dissection tests using binocular microscopes

Our services confirm the quality and viability of your seeds.

Please email us to find out about our seed testing service: seedhub@kew.org.