Saving plants from the brink of extinction
Scientists at Kew have been studying plants for 250 years. All of us need plants. They provide the air we breathe and generate clean water and clean soil. We all rely on plants for food and medicine too.
Like many things in today's world, plants are endangered.Today, 60,000 to 100,000 species of plant are faced with the threat of extinction. Kew is helping to save plant species at risk through its Millennium Seed Bank partnership (MSBP).
Working with our network of partners across more than 50 countries, we have successfully banked 10% of the world's wild plant species. With your help, we are aiming to save 25% by 2020. We target plants and regions most at risk from climate change and the ever-increasing impact of human activities.
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Get involved - Adopt a seed today
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership has 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.
For just £1,000 or £2,000 you can save a plant species. Or you can get involved by adopting a seed for just £25. Why not get together with friends to save a plant species and know that together you have played a vital part in protecting our environment.
Whatever you decide to do, even if it's just letting your friends know about our campaign, you've made a difference - please decide to help.
Cracking the code of the 'thermal' lily
The world's smallest waterlily has been brought back from the brink of extinction at Kew.
In a fitting success story to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity 2010, Carlos Magdalena, a horticulturist at Kew, has discovered the secret of growing a rare species of African waterlily – bringing it back from the brink of extinction. The 'thermal’ lily (Nymphaea thermarum) is believed to be the smallest waterlily in the world.
'Back from the brink' at Kew
Dimaka (Tahina spectabilis)
Dimaka (Tahina spectabilis) is an enormous ‘self-destructive’ palm that remained undetected by science until 2007. Efforts are now underway to conserve this species through distribution of seed and cultivation at Kew, and other botanic gardens around the world.
Café marron tree (Ramosmania rodriguesii)
The café marron tree (Ramosmania rodriguesii) is only known to be found on the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, with only one plant remaining in the wild. In 2003, Kew made a major breakthrough and since then, several seeds have been successfully germinated and grown on.