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Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership ‘top banana’ as it celebrates banking 10% of the world’s wild plant species.

Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is celebrating collecting, banking and conserving 10% of the world’s wild plant species by banking its 24,200th plant species.
The yunnan banana (Musa itinerans) is the 24,200th plant species saved at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.

In a time of increasing concern about loss of biodiversity and climate change, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership provides a real message of hope and is a vital resource in an uncertain world.

Stephen Hopper, Director, RBG Kew

This special plant species is a pink wild banana from China which is an important staple for wild Asian elephants. It is also a wild crop relative that is a valuable genetic resource for breeding new varieties of banana with disease resistance traits to ensure the continued cultivation of bananas in the future.

Commonly called the yunnan banana, Musa itinerans is increasingly under threat in the wild due to its jungle habitat being cleared for commercial agriculture. Seed of this plant species was collected in Southwest China by our local Millennium Seed Bank partner, the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

An official 10% banking ceremony hosted by Kew’s Director, Professor Stephen Hopper, and attended by representatives from our partner institutions from around the globe, took place at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank located at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, on the 15th October 2009.

The 10% target was set in 2000 when Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership was formed. While this accomplishment is being celebrated, a new challenge approaches – collecting and banking a quarter of the world’s plants by 2020.

Get involved - Adopt a Seed, Save a Species

Without plants there could be no life on earth, and yet every day another four plant species face extinction. Too often when we hear these kind of statistics there is little that we can do as individuals, but thanks to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership and the Adopt a Seed, Save a Species campaign there is something that you can do to ensure the survival of a plant species.

Save a plant species outright or adopt a seed for just £25 

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16 October 2009
Thanks for the kind comments guys. We're pretty proud of our 10% achievement too! Onwards and upwards though - and in terms of funding - we're inviting people to support our work through the Adopt a Seed, Save a Species campaign. The campaign is great and described above, with links to find out more. With your help, we can continue to make a difference and help save plants for our future.
16 October 2009
A brilliant achievement by a great team. Lets hope the funding and the partnerships continue long into the future, to preserve the planet's myriad plantlife and all who depend on it.
15 October 2009
Congratulations on reaching that 10% target, it's a fantstic achievement that often goes unnoticed. Well done on all the hard work put in by all the numerous inviduals that make up a fantastic team doing an important job. Here's to the next 10%!