Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership – Montserrat
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank collection contains 26 seeds from precious and vulnerable plant species found in Montserrat. We now have the option to grow these seeds into plants and reintroduce them in the wild.
Seed collectors in Montserrat (Image: Thomas Heller, RBG Kew)
Plant life is under threat in Montserrat
Despite its relatively small size, the Caribbean island of Montserrat is home to over 800 native plant species. Habitats range from cactus-dominated dry scrub to wet forest and elfin woodland. The eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1995 and subsequent years destroyed almost all the forests of the southern hill ranges and resulted in the total loss of large areas of Montserrat’s forest ecosystem. The Centre Hills now hold the largest intact forest area remaining on Montserrat. In addition to volcanic activity threats to Montserrat’s plant life include tropical storms and development.
Saving seeds for the future in Montserrat
Kew’s UK Overseas Territories team is supporting local partners to protect plant species. Two collecting trips, in 2006 and 2008, resulted in seed collections of 26 plant species, including the two endemic species (found exclusively in Montserrat); a member of the coffee family, Rondeletia buxifolia and an orchid, Epidendrum montserratense.
In collaboration with the Government of Montserrat’s Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Land, Housing & Environment, the seed collecting programme will be developed to safeguard more of this island’s flora. Seeds will be dried, frozen and placed in storage facilities such as Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. Most seeds can be kept in this way for decades and grown into plants at a point in the future when they are needed.
Discover more about our work in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean...
Our Montserrat team
Our partners in Montserrat
- Government of Montserrat’s Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Land, Housing & Environment