Millennium Seed Bank blog
Welcome to the Millennium Seed Bank blog. There is a lot going on behind the scenes at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) - not only here at Wakehurst but also with our partners all over the globe. We will be blogging about our seed collecting trips, local events, research projects and discoveries as well as everyday goings on.
We currently have seeds from more than 30,000 species of wild plants in long term storage and continue to receive seed collections from all over the world. It is an amazing place to work and we hope to share our passion for seed conservation with you via our blogs.
Prioritising ash seeds
The priority this year has been collecting ash seeds. This is mainly because of high profile threats to ash trees in the UK caused by the pathogenic fungi, Chalara fraxinea, including its sexual stage Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus - more commonly known as 'ash dieback'.
Ash is an important tree in the UK. It is the third most commonly recorded broadleaved species in the most recent Census of Woodlands and Trees, and the second most widely planted broadleaved tree. The area covered by ash in the UK, including hedgerows and small woodlands, is 180,000 ha. Furthermore, the value of ash trees for commercial use is £22 million per annum, though this is dwarfed by the social and environmental benefits estimated at £150 million per annum!
Ash trees also have high conservation value. They create a relatively open woodland canopy, allowing light to penetrate to the forest floor. This creates perfect conditions for a rich and varied ground flora to develop.
The leaf litter can also have a positive effect on the biodiversity of soil ecosystems by reducing soil acidity. Additionally, the long-lived nature of ash trees, especially when coppiced, provides niches for a rich diversity of animal, plant and fungal life. Many such species depend on ash trees for their survival.
Sunlight breaking through an ash and oak woodland canopy, Crab Wood, Winchester. (Photo: S.Kallow)
Genetic diversity of ash trees
Survival of ash trees in the UK also relies on the existing genetic diversity of ash trees. Resistance to ash dieback is thought to be present in a number of genes within the existing population. Therefore, preserving the genetic diversity of ash trees is the best way of supporting their overall survival: seed conservation is an excellent way of doing this.
So far we have collected roughly 160,000 ash seeds. The hope is that these seeds will provide an important resource for researchers and conservationists working to overcome these ecological threats.
Seeds collected in the autumn are damp, so the seeds are currently being dried before being put into storage in the Millennium Seed Bank at -20°C. (Photo: S.Kallow)
Working with the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust
It was clear from the outset that building a national tree seed collection was an ambitious commitment and was going to take more than a few workers from Kew so we enlisted the help of the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust. The Millennium Seed Bank is a partnership, working collaboratively across 80 countries to conserve and improve the use of seeds, so we have a good framework for working in this way.
The Forestry Commission has so far carried out 10 ash seed collections, focused in the east of England, central Scotland and in North Wales. It has also collected juniper seed in 19 sites in England and Scotland.
The Woodland Trust has recruited a team of devoted volunteers and collected hornbean and rowan seed at two of their ancient woodland sites. We have also been working closely with the Wakehurst Place Woodland Conservation team and together, so far, we have carried out ash seed collections at seven locations across the south and west of England.
Collecting seed in the field
How did we go about collecting ash seed? Firstly, we chose autochthonous populations, woodlands where trees have had a substantial history at a site over several generations. The theory is that in competitive ecosystems the trees we find are selectively adapted to local environmental conditions.
After choosing woodlands which are ancient or semi-natural, it was important that we gained the consent both of the landowner and also of Natural England, Natural Resources Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage who oversee the protection of these ecologically important sites.
When we got to a site, we checked the quality of seed to see if they were full and ripe. Then we aimed to collect seed from around 20 randomly selected trees.
Carrying out a cut test, whereby we cut and examined a sample of seed to work out the proportion of full, empty and infested seeds. Crab Wood, Winchester. (Photo: S,Kallow)
The best method was to shake the high-up branches using a rope thrown up into the canopy. This released the seed which spun down onto a well-placed tarpaulin. When it worked this was a beautifully hypnotic sight, being surrounded by the twisting seed glistening in the low autumn sun.
Shaking a branch to release ash keys during seed collecting. Highbury Wood, Gloucestershire. (Photo: S.Kallow)
As you can imagine, things didn’t always work out like that. There were a number of challenges including steep slopes, dense woodland and, of course, the much anticipated October storm. So we used other techniques, such as using pole saws to prune-off reachable branches and remove the seeds.
We tagged the trees we collected from so that we can return to them if necessary. So if you see one of these tags on a tree – you’ll know that the tree is a parent of seed in the national collection.
UK National Tree Seed Project tree tags (Photo S.Kallow)
As a matter of course sub-samples are X-rayed to find the proportion of seed that is infested or dead, even after considerable effort to remove these seed. As you can see from these X-rays, ash seed play an important role in someone’s lifecycle - you can clearly see seed infested with invertebrate larvae.
X-ray of ash seed (Photo: RBG Kew)
We’ve learned a lot over the course of these collections and it’s been great working with other organisations in order to make a real and lasting legacy for the UK treescape.
- Simon -
0 comments on 'Collecting for the National Tree Seed Project'
Breathtakingly beautiful and vast in number - with more than 26,000 species, orchids are the largest family of flowering plants, not to mention the more than 100,000 hybrids humans have created. (Photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
The biggest seed in the world
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. Famed for both its volume and suggestive shape, the seed (actually a single-seeded stone) of the Seychelles nut or double coconut (Lodoicea maldivica, Arecaceae) holds the unbeaten record for the world’s largest seed. It can weigh up to 18 kg and resembles something that, while bobbing in the waves of the Indian Ocean, gave sailors in the Middle Ages all kinds of, well, “seedy” ideas.
Keith Manger, Lab Manager at the Millennium Seed Bank, proudly demonstrating the physical attributes of a Seychelles nut (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Seeds like dust
At the other extreme of the spectrum we find the seeds of orchids. Famed for their beautiful and fascinating flowers, with over 26,000 species worldwide, orchids are the largest of all flowering plant families. What’s more, they also hold the world record for having the smallest seeds of all flowering plants. A typical orchid seed is merely the size of a speck of dust.
Top: Flower of Stanhopea Assidensis [= S. tigrina x S. wardii] and seeds of Stanhopea tigrina (0.66 mm long); below: flower and seeds (0.6-0.8 mm long) of the common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) [Images from SEEDS – Time Capsules of Life by Rob Kesseler & Wolfgang Stuppy; Copyright Papadakis Publisher, Newbury, UK]
Top: seeds of the Wild Coco (Eulophia alta), on a British one penny coin. Below: two seeds of the same species in the SEM (the scale bar shows half a millimetre; Photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Tiny ones and not so tiny ones
To give an impression of the dimensions involved: a single capsule of the tropical American orchid Cycnoches chlorochilon produces almost four million seeds, and one gram of seeds of the southeast Asian species Aerides odorata contains 3.4 million seeds. At around 0.2 mm in length, Aerides odorata has the smallest seeds I have ever come across at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. According to the literature [Arditti, J. & Abdul Karim Abdul Ghani (2000) Numerical and physical properties of orchid seeds and their biological implications (Tansley Review No. 110). New Phytologist 145: 367-421], there are orchids with even smaller seeds. Those of the New Caledonian species Anoectochilus imitans are said to be the smallest of all, measuring just 0.05 mm in length. At a ‘gigantic’ 6 mm, the seeds of the lopsided star orchid (Epidendrum secundum) are allegedly the longest of any orchid.
Top: two seeds of Acanthephippium splendidum measuring c. 3 mm in length. Below left: three seeds of Aerides odorata measuring c. 0.2 mm in length (the scale bar shows half a millimetre; Photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Left: flower of bee orchid (Ophrys apifera). Right: the seeds of early spider orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) measure a bit more than half a millimetre (c. 0.6 mm) [Images from The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants by Wolfgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler & Madeline Harley; Copyright Papadakis Publisher, Newbury, UK]
The reduction in seed size and weight is mainly achieved at the expense of embryo and endosperm, the latter failing to develop in orchids. At the time of dispersal, orchid seeds consist of a spindle-shaped, wafer-thin seed coat that encloses an extremely small and simplified embryo in the shape of a spherical cluster of cells. Just one single cell layer thick, the seed coat (also called testa) forms a balloon around the embryo, a clear adaptation to wind dispersal.
A seed of Clowesia russelliana, an epiphytic orchid from tropical America, showing the thin, transparent seed coat enclosing a tiny spherical embryo (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
With a little help from their friends
Because orchid seeds lack a food reserve in the form of an endosperm or a large embryo, most of them, especially terrestrial ones, are generally unable to germinate on their own. They first have to engage in a mycorrhizal relationship with a fungus that helps to feed the emerging seedling. Some orchids are able to join up with many different species of fungi whilst others only accept a very specific fungus to enter their lives (or rather roots). Few orchids don’t need any fungus at all for their germination, such as certain species of Disa from South Africa, a remarkable exception among terrestrial orchids.
Seedlings of the neotropical orchid Encyclia chloroleuca growing in a Petri dish. Placed on a nutrient medium under sterile conditions most epiphytic orchids can germinate without their fungal partner. (Photos: Suzie Wood)
Why so many?
Their dependence on certain fungal partners is most probably the reason why orchids produce vast numbers of tiny seeds. With their small size, low weight and balloon-testa, orchid seeds are perfectly adapted to wind-dispersal. However, their strategy is not to travel long distances. Scattering large numbers of seeds with the wind merely heightens the chances that at least some end up in a place where they are lucky enough to meet their specific fungal partner without which they cannot germinate.
Long-distance dispersal would mean that the same amount of seed is distributed over a larger area which could actually lower the odds of encountering a compatible host in a suitable location. The fact that many orchid species are endemics with very limited distributions supports this theory. This does not mean, however, that their seeds are not able to cover long distances. Orchids managed to reach isolated islands far away from the mainland. As famously documented, they were among the first pioneers to resettle on the islets of Krakatoa after the catastrophic volcanic eruption of 27 August 1883.
An open fruit of the Asian tiger orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) showing the placenta with some remaining seeds. Top right: close-up of the seeds (scale bar shows 1 mm; photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Why so small?
Shedding millions of seeds most of which go to waste, seems very wasteful. However, evolution shows no mercy with wasters and given the orchids’ success, their seed dispersal strategy must pay off. In fact, producing lots of very small seeds with literally no food reserve (apart from some oil droplets and starch grains in the embryo) is energetically inexpensive and doesn’t take up that much of a plant’s energy at all.
The survival benefits of producing millions of tiny seeds clearly outweigh the costs of producing them. Not only orchids prove this point. Other families, like the Orobanchaceae (broomrape family), pursue the same strategy. As parasites, they have a similar problem to orchids: they need to get their seeds to meet the right host partner in order to grow into a new plant.
Left: Ivy broomrape (Orobanche hederae, Orobanchaceae) growing outside the School of Horticulture at Kew Gardens. Right: just under 0.4 mm long, the tiny seeds of this parasite look similar to those of certain orchids but they lack the balloon-like seed coat (Photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Vanilla ice cream and seed morphology
Since we are talking orchids here and most of us love ice cream, here’s a seed morphological nugget for you. Next time you treat yourself to some good quality vanilla ice cream you can discover that the tiny black spots in it are actually real vanilla seeds (in cheap ice cream they might be fake!). Vanilla is made from the fermented fruits (‘pods’) of the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia). That’s how all those seeds end up in your ice cream. Sadly, though, the seeds of vanilla are nowhere near as exciting as those of other orchids. They are just very simple, unexciting looking, tiny black discs. Lacking the transparent balloon-like seed coat so typical of other orchids, their seeds are obviously not wind-dispersed.
In fact, the seed dispersal strategies of vanilla orchids are still enigmatic. The fruits of many Vanilla species, including the ones of V. planifolia, open when ripe to expose their tiny seeds covered in an extremely sticky layer of oil. The oil might serve as an adhesive to attach the seeds to visiting animals, which could either be insects or vertebrates. For example, it has been observed that euglossine bees are attracted by the fragrance of vanilla fruits and act as seed collectors and potential dispersers.
Top: Vanilla ice cream (exciting!). Below: scanning electron micrograph of a vanilla seed (not very exciting!) (Photos: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Orchid seed research at the Millennium Seed Bank
At this point I asked my colleague, Tim Marks, to tell us something about the research into orchid seeds he is involved in at the Millennium Seed Bank and he writes:
'Being wind-dispersed, orchid seeds are naturally dry at release and appear to be desiccation tolerant. The latter is essential for us to be able to preserve them under very dry and very cold (freezing!) conditions, as we do with other seeds in the Millennium Seed Bank.
'Unfortunately, orchid seeds have the reputation to be short-lived under seed banking conditions. Our research is engaged in finding out why this is and how we can extend their survival.
'A basic concept in understanding their specific requirements for storage is to test the relationship between temperature and moisture content upon viability and germination. By running long-term storage experiments with temperatures between -196°C (liquid nitrogen) and +20° (ambient), and a variety of moisture contents, it is possible to identify species-specific requirements.
'Some orchid species prove tolerant to a range of conditions, while others store better in liquid nitrogen. However, to prevent repeating this on all species, we are looking at a number of seed characteristics that could affect this response. One of these is lipid content of the seed, the physical properties of which could affect seed physiology as they go through the freeze and thaw cycles that stored seeds are subjected to. It is possible to produce thermal fingerprints describing the phase transitions between liquid and solid states that these go through, with the intention of developing a predictive model that will describe the observed responses to storage and during germination.'
Our cryo-storage facility at the Millennium Seed Bank where we keep orchid seeds at -196°C (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
0 comments on 'Orchid seeds – Nature’s tiny treasures'
The joys of rural living
Having always worked in the city I have never made learning to drive a priority in my life. So, when I started at the Millennium Seed Bank last June, I was forced to rely on country buses to get into work every day. They are rickety and infrequent but on the plus side, the drivers are always very friendly and each morning I am greeted by the birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer and all the farmyard animals against the stunning backdrop of the Sussex countryside – feeling much like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, albeit on a bus. There are two others who make the journey with me every day: Nelson Barbosa Nachado-Netoand and Ceci Castilho Custódio, a Brazilian couple who took a sabbatical from their busy professorships and moved to the UK with their two children to carry out some of their own research, away from the demands of their students.
Nelson and Ceci on a misty morning in front of the UK Native Seed Hub, Wakehurst Place (Photo: Sarah Cody)
Seed collections in action
Being a world class organisation dedicated to conserving the seeds of wild plant species, the Millennium Seed Bank attracts many visiting researchers each year who draw on the knowledge, expertise and technological resources of the seed bank to further their own research objectives and, in so doing, contribute to a greater understanding of seed behaviour. The seeds of the 31,000 or so species that the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has collected and banked so far are not just lying in a cold room collecting dust. Oh no - these seeds are destined for great things! The collections are being used to restore populations of threatened species in the wild, to provide options for the sustainable use of plants by communities, and for research.
Germination testing (Image: RBG Kew)
A project close to my heart is the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project which is involved in collecting seeds of the wild relatives of crop plants and making them available to breeders so that the useful traits they contain, such as disease resistance and high yield, can be bred into our crops, thereby improving agricultural efficiency and safeguarding our food security. To make sure these seeds live up to their great expectations, a crucially important part of the work done here at the seed bank is research into the viability of the seed collections, their germination and propagation. In other words, if these valuable seed collections are to remain useful for generations to come, we need to know what conditions the seeds need to stay viable long into the future and, when their moment of glory comes, we need to be able to grow them into living plants.
The commonest orchid in Britain
It wasn’t long before I discovered the reasons why Ceci and Nelson had left their tropical paradise to come and spend 8 months in the decidedly chillier South of England. Each morning, while walking down from the bus stop, Nelson would stop and check on these exquisitely beautiful wild orchids that lined the path to the Millennium Seed Bank building.
A wild population of Dactylorhiza fuchsii, the common spotted orchid (Photo: Nelson Neto)
Their name is Dactylorhiza fuchsii or common spotted orchid - a white to purple-flecked terrestrial orchid which occurs throughout Europe and as far afield as Mongolia. As the commonest orchid in Britain, they are widespread, growing from alkaline marshes to chalk down-land, even gracing wasteland with their beauty. Like other orchids, the common spotted orchid produces tiny, dust-like seeds which rely on fungal relationships in order to germinate.
A closer look at the common spotted orchid (Photo: Nelson Neto)
Ceci and Nelson's project
Supported by the Orchid Seed Science for Sustainable Use group, Ceci and Nelson, in their quest to unravel the mysteries of orchid seed behaviour, chose as their subject populations of common spotted orchid dotted throughout Wakehurst Place. Only a couple of flowers per inflorescence were pollinated, after which the rest of the flowers were pulled off. This was done so that the plant’s resources were maximally allocated towards seed production.
Pollination of the common spotted orchid (Photo: Nelson Neto)
Within a few weeks, the flowers withered and a brown seed capsule developed. Ceci and Nelson then harvested the matured seeds, kept some in storage and brought some to the lab for their research. Their project currently focuses on how the oils present in orchid seeds influence the length of time they remain viable in cold storage.
Seed capsules of Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Photo: Nelson Neto)
There is a saying in Brazil...
Many a misty morning at the seed bank, Nelson and Ceci would say to me, 'Neblina baixa, sol que racha,' which is Portuguese and translates as, 'Low fog, sun that splits'. It means that if the day starts off foggy you can expect it to be so sunny and hot later on that the fruits of the castor bean plant (Ricinus communis) split open releasing their seeds. I didn't have any castor bean fruits on me to put their theory to the test, but this much I can say: A foggy morning always ended in a gloriously sunny day!
Ceci and Nelson leave the seed bank in December and I will miss them when they go. I hope our paths cross again.
- Sarah -
0 comments on 'Orchids in the Mist'
I recently attended the two-week Kew Seed Conservation Training course held from 7 to 18 October here in Ethiopia. The course was organized by the team of experts from the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Kew, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity (EIB) and Wondo Genet College of Forestry. The course was attended by 15 participants all of whom work either on seed conservation or areas related to biodiversity conservation and who came from a variety of different institutions (ten from the EIB, two from the tree Seed Centre at the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture, two from Wondo Genet College of Forestry and myself from the Addis Ababa University Herbarium).
Participants group photo with course mentors at the Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity (Photo: Mekbib Fekadu)
The training was fascinating and combined theory with practice. It covered all the necessary topics important for proper long-term seed conservation - starting from the planning of seed collection through to the point where seeds are stored in cold rooms and prepared for distribution for end users. The various things required for field seed collection were dealt with, and a practical field expedition was carried out to Shashemene Botanic Garden and Wondo Genet Arboretum. Here field seed collection methods and procedures were discussed and, as a group, we collected sample seeds from Vicia sativum L. with voucher herbarium specimens also being collected for reference.
Tim Pearce explaining field seed collection methods and procedures to the trainees at Shashemene Botanic Garden. (Photo: Mekbib Fekadu)
In the classroom
In the Wondo Genet College of Forestry laboratory we carried out moisture content measurement, desiccation tolerance testing and orthodox/recalcitrant seed testing. The germination and viability test and cut test and seed cleaning and counting were done in the laboratories at EIB in Addis Ababa.
Rachael Davies and Kate Gold explaining moisture content to course participants at Wondo Genet College of Forestry (Photo: Mekbib Fekadu)
Problems and plans
In addition some of the problems encountered in the Ethiopian Gene Bank were discussed. For example, the seed germination incubators and the seed cleaning aspiractor machine were fixed by Rachael. Additionally, a number of technical problems associated with failed components in the dry room were raised and the case transferred to the expert at Kew who I hope will be able to repair it. At the end of the training, we formed groups and discussed the activities we had been involved in and the problems which hamper us carrying out our activities. Finally we prepared our action plans, presented them to the group and commented on each others' plans.
A personal view
I was delighted to have taken part in this course. It helped me to understand more about seed physiology and management in a relatively short time. The knowledge and skills I gained will be a great help for my future and inform my research to integrate our seed conservation activities and work here at the Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity with the work and activities of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.
This is the first time this kind of training has taken place in Ethiopia but it didn't seem like it, as the course was so well-organized and managed and gave the trainees a good in-depth knowledge incorporating relevant and timely examples from new and different perspectives.
I believe this is a very good start and has to continue in the future on a regular basis in order to produce many more skilful conservationists and natural resource scientists in my country and beyond. Who knows - if it continues like this with such strength and commitment one day it could be one of the leading international training courses which could invite participants from other parts of the world and help us all to work together and share experiences of seed conservation from all over the world.
- Mekbib -
Department of Plant Biology and Biodiversity Management
College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University
- Kew Gardens Specialist Training Courses in Seed Conservation
- Training with Kew's Millennium Seed Bank
3 comments on 'Kew training in Ethiopia'
Bags in the Palm House
Should you visit the wonderful Palm House conservatory at Kew (nice weather guaranteed all year around) you will come across some fabric bags hanging from some of the plants. Don’t worry, these are not early Christmas treats. These bags are part of a Seed Collection project carried out by horticulturists at Kew.
Pollination bags on a specimen of Hibiscus clayi in the Palm House (Photo: Noelia Alvarez)
The living collections seed project
The project aims to bank seeds from the living collections held at RBG Kew. Priority is given to wild collected, conservation rated and historical specimens. The seeds are then safely stored in the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place. This way we are safeguarding the collections for the future. It is a long-term insurance against the complete loss of the species and also provides a source of material for study of those species.
The bags are used to avoid cross pollination between closely related plants. This way the flowers which contain the reproductive organs of the plant are isolated from potential pollinators that transfer pollen in their search for rewards. The bags are made of very fine polyester (bridal veil) and they have been designed and made at Kew by volunteers skilled in this craft.
Sign in the Palm House explaining the pollination project (Photo: Noelia Alavarez)
The next step is to hand pollinate the flowers inside the bags: this is the most fascinating part. There are so many plant families at Kew and understanding how the plant breeds in nature helps us with the pollination work. We have pollinated orchids, such as Gongora armeniaca, which in nature are pollinated by a group of bees called euglossine bees. The male bees collect the fragrant, oily compounds that the flowers secrete (these oils make them attractive to the female bees). It is an interesting symbiosis where the bees depend on the orchid fragrances they collect for their reproductive success and the orchids likewise depend on the euglossine bees for pollination.
We also pollinate plants which in their natural habitats are pollinated by geckos, for example Nesocodon mauritianus with its brightly red nectar - an attractive visual signal for lizards. And also plants pollinated by sunbirds like Aloe classenii - the birds tend to have long beaks adapted for extracting the copious nectar from the tubular flowers.
We use different tools to transfer the pollen from one flower to another, paint brushes (natural hair ones help with pollen adherence), tweezers, sewing pins, toothpicks, musical tuning forks, our fingers, and sometimes even our own hair.
Student Kasia Babel hand pollinating Hibiscus clayi (Photo: Noelia Alvarez)
Collection and storage
After pollination, if fertilization has been successful, a fruit is formed. The next step will be to collect the seeds at the optimum stage of their development when they are at their peak of maturity. This way the seed won’t lose viability when stored in the freezers at the Millennium Seed Bank. There are indicators of readiness for collection such as changes in fruit colour, fruits splitting, seeds rattling, changes of texture of the fruit wall, some seeds already dispersed, and so on.
Finally the seeds are collected into well-labelled cloth or paper bags which allow air flow and prevent mould formation and sent to the Seed Conservation Department at the Millennium Seed Bank where they are processed, tested and stored.
We have many examples of successful seed collections produced from our ex situ collections which are now safely stored at the Millennnium Seed Bank, for example:
- Begonia salaziensis from Mauritius where the total population is recorded as being less than 50 individuals
- Teline nervosa, endemic to the island of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), where it is only present in two locations extremely threatened by exotic species, and urbanised areas
...and many, many more.
I expect the bags will be in the Palm House until the end of November, if not longer. We will be setting more bags in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and outside in the gardens from spring onwards.
Taking into account the large number of important living collections held at RBG Kew which we need to collect, you can expect to come across quite a few bags around the Gardens, each one helping us with the isolation and preservation of flowers around the garden.
- Noelia -
2 comments on 'Controlled pollination'
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership works with over 80 countries worldwide as we work towards our current goal of collecting and storing seeds from 25% of the world's wild plant species. To complete such a target requires a wide range of skills and expertise including training, research, seed processing, database management and fundraising.
Follow Kew on twitter
- capacity building
- wet tropics
- focus families
- useful plants
- seed banking
- around the world
- South East Asia
- at risk
- new species