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Plant story - collecting Menodora linoides, a rare plant from Chile

This attractive small shrub is known from only five locations in the hills of central Chile, and was in danger of extinction, before the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership got involved.

Voucher specimen collected in the field (Photo: Pablo Guerrero, INIA)

 Menodora linoides is the only member of the olive family native to Chile. This plant species is a high priority for conservation action because it is rapidly disappearing due to intensification of grazing in its habitat.

As part of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, seed has been collected and banked by the Chilean Agricultural Research Agency (Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA)). Through a joint research program with Kew, samples of seeds have been germinated and seedlings have been successfully propagated in greenhouse conditions.

Generating more plants

Currently there is no official protection for its natural habitat so Menodora seed has also been provided to Botanic Gardens in central Chile to explore conservation options for the species. For example,collaborators at the National Botanical Garden in Viña del Mar are growing specimens for research and education purposes. Plants reach flowering stage in as little as six months of age, and vegetative propagation has also found to be effective, so the partners are positive about the future recovery of this attractive species.

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Get involved - Adopt a Seed, Save a Species

We have successfully banked 10% of the world's wild plant species and we have set our sights on saving 25% by 2020.

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.

Adopt a seed for just £25 | Save a plant species outright

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