Help us save sword lily
Sword lily (Gladiolus dzhavakheticus) is known from only a very few locations in Georgia and Armenia. You can help Kew safeguard this plant for our future by adopting a seed for yourself, or as a gift for £25.
Sword lily (Gladiolus dzhavakheticus) has been included on the IUCN Red List of the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia).
This colourful plant grows on sub-alpine meadows which are intensively used as hay meadows. This activity threatens sword lily populations and reduces the chances of the plant reproducing itself by seed.
Some local residents use sword lily as an ornamental plant and others collect it for its underground stem (corm), because it's edible when boiled or roasted. Another threat to the sustainability of wild populations is locals picking the plant to sell on, because of its showy flowers.
A little local misunderstanding
The Georgian name for this plant species is translated into English as “sword”, so it was funny that when we were collecting this plant to make herbarium specimens, locals approached us and asked what we were doing. When we answered that 'we were collecting swords', locals thought we were searching for 'real swords' (as in archaeological artefacts) and were interested to assist us in making such discoveries. They were soon disappointed to learn that not all swords are made of metal, but some have green leaves and large showy flowers.
Saving seeds for our future in Georgia
In 2005, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) partnered with the Tbilisi Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany. Since then, the team in Georgia have worked hard to capture the remarkable diversity of their country.
Seed collections with associated data and herbarium specimens have been made from over 600 plant species. Many of them are threatened and/or unique to a particular region (endemic).
In addition to funding fieldwork, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has also helped to build skills and improve facilities with the seed bank team in Tbilisi. Training has been provided in seed collecting, seed processing, germination and data management. Equipment has also been provided to improve all aspects of the seed banking process and a database has been established.
We are also working together on the propagation of problem species with a long-term view to link the seed bank to in situ conservation and sustainable use of Georgian flora.
You can adopt this seed for yourself, or as a gift for £25.
When you Adopt a Seed, you'll receive a personalised certificate, featuring your plant species, as a downloadable PDF document you can print off, and regular updates over the year from the Millennium Seed Bank.
For an additional £2, you can have an Adoption Pack posted (either to you, or direct to a gift recipient) featuring a certificate and a full colour picture of your species (UK only).
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