Adopt one of our seeds held in the Millennium Seed Bank for £25
With four plant species at risk of extinction every day, it’s never been more urgent to protect the endangered plants which may be key to our survival. For £25 you can adopt the seed of a plant species to ensure its preservation, or you can save an entire plant species from extinction by raising at least £1,000.
When you adopt a seed, you'll receive
- a personalised certificate, featuring your plant species
- regular updates over the year from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank
- and our thanks for helping us conserve the worlds plants
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).
You can contact us on email@example.com or 0208 332 3248 (Mon-Fri).
Choose a seed for adoption
Love in a puff (Cardiospermum halicacabum)
Originating from Tropical America, Cardiospermum halicacabum is a deciduous vine growing up to 3 m long. Inflated seed capsules give it the common names ‘love in a puff’ or ‘balloon vine’. The capsules have three compartments, each containing a single black seed. The seed is fixed by a small attachment which, when it breaks, leaves behind a white heart-shaped mark on the seed. Every part of this plant has medicinal properties and can be used for the treatment of ailments including rheumatism and snakebites! The name is a Latinisation of the Greek: kardia (heart) and sperma (seed).
Wild aubergine (Solanum tomentosum)
Solanum tomentosum is a wild relative of aubergine with bright orange berries. It is endemic to South Africa, growing in grassy or rocky areas on hillsides, river beds, coastal bush or roadsides. The collection held in the MSB comes from the Eastern Cape region and was collected by MSB Partners, the South African National Biodiversity Institute in 2005. Although most Solanum species are found in the Americas, around 20% are Old World species, and it is this group which comprises the origin of the aubergine. This group offers useful traits for breeding with the cultivated aubergine, and many species contain valuable medicinal compounds.
Madagascan wing-fruited coffee (Coffea pterocarpa)
Madagascan wing-fruited coffee (Coffea pterocarpa) was discovered on a Kew expedition to Madagascar in 2000 and is one of the most bizarre-looking species of coffee, owing to its yellow winged fruits. The wings may make the fruits more visible to animals, such as lemurs, which disperse the seeds. Another possibility is that the fruits are adapted to water-dispersal as they float very well, unlike most other coffee species, which sink in water. Read more about this unique plant species.
Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)
The round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) is one of Britain’s three native carnivorous plants. Its leaves are covered in sticky red ‘tentacles’, often seen glistening in the dewy morning, which not only give the plant its common name but also trap insects. When an insect gets caught on the sticky leaves, the tentacles slowly fold inwards – which can take up to 20 minutes – trapping the insect before it is digested. Round-leaved sundew is common in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, whilst in England it is mainly found in the south-west and north-west. Read more about this insect eating plant.
Glossy-leaved gardenia (Gardenia nitida)
This gardenia tree, about 1.5-2 m tall, with smooth bark, has white flowers which later turn golden yellow and its oblong fruits are hard and woody. It is also one of the rarest plants in Burkina Faso. After four hours of walking in temperatures of 35ºC, the Millennium Seed Bank collecting team succeeded in finding only five individuals of this small tree. It was growing along a 2 km stretch of the Comoe river, in dense forest. Despite their exhaustion, the team were able to make a collection and return to their vehicles before dark, when the local predators – chiefly lions and leopards – emerge to hunt. Read more about this rare tree.
Sword plant (Gladiolus dzhavakheticus)
Sword plant (Gladiolus dzhavakheticus) is endemic to the Caucasus mountains of Georgia and Armenia, where it is found in sub-alpine hay meadows. Uprooting of these plants for their edible corms or picking them for cut flowers have greatly reduced their numbers. The Georgian seed collectors caused a stir amongst the locals when they announced they were looking for ‘swords’; they were mistaken for an archaeological expedition, but ‘swords’ is actually the local name for this species (Gladiolus = ‘little sword’ in Latin). Read more about this endangered plant.
Sausage tree (Kigelia africana)
This tree is found across tropical Africa, growing up to 20-25 m high. It produces hard, long, gourd-like fruits – giving it the common name sausage tree. Its large dark-red flowers are popular with birds who feed on their copious nectar, although the trees are pollinated by bats and hawk-moths when the flowers open at night. The long heavy fruits can be up to 90 cm in length and 12 kg in weight and are sometimes used as a purgative in local medicines; however they are toxic to humans. They can also do considerable damage if they fall on vehicles or unsuspecting passersby. Read more about this unusual tree.
Glory of the sun (Leucocoryne coquimbensis)
The genus Leucocoryne is a group of bulb-forming plants native to Chile, which have commonly been called ‘glory of the sun’ since the 1920s when plant collector Clarence Elliot coined the phrase. 'Glory of the sun' (Leucocoryne coquimbensis) has purple-blue flowers, with bright yellow centres and like all the species in the genus, these flowers appear in late spring, just before the plants die down for the summer. The long, narrow leaves appear in late autumn. Chile has over 5,200 native plant species and around half are unique to the country. Many are also widely used in horticulture. Read more about this plant.
Yunnan banana (Musa itinerans)
Musa itinerans is a wild banana from south-east Asia with pink fruits, which are an important staple food for wild Asian elephants. It is distributed from north-east India to Vietnam and is also found in China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. Individual plants commonly grow up to 3-7 m high, but can reach 12 m, with leaves up to 3 m in length and 90 cm in width. Shoots grow from a creeping, elongating underground stem (rhizome) which gives the species name “itinerans”. Musa itinerans was the 24,200th plant species saved at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. This number was a significant landmark because it meant that 10% of the world’s wild plant species had been banked. Read more about this wild plant.
Falkland Islands snakeplant (Nassauvia serpens)
Snakeplant (Nassauvia serpens) is one of 13 species thought to be unique to the Falkland Islands. Situated 500 km from mainland South America, the islands are a remote archipelago comprisisng two larger islands (East and West Falkland) and over 700 smaller islands. One of the most unusual plants on the Islands, snakeplant has long straggling stems, reaching up to 2 m in height. The dull green leaves are tough and slightly curved, with sharp hooks along the edges and a whitish underside. The long curving stems of the snakeplant form large tangled patches amongst rocks and boulders and often reach a metre across. Read more about this unusual plant.
Shining nematolepis (Nematolepis wilsonii)
Shining nematolepis (Nematolepis wilsonii) was confined to a single population in the catchment of the Yarra river, east of Melbourne, Australia. As a conservation measure, a few specimens had been removed with the intention of establishing new colonies, but due to prolonged drought these plants remained at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne and Cranbourne. Then came the devastating bush fires of Black Saturday, in which at least 210 people died and nearly half a million hectares of land were destroyed. As a result, shining nematolepis is now extinct in the wild. Seed from the rescued plants will be banked and used to propagate additional specimens. Read more about this rare plant.
Golden rain orchid (Oncidium cheirophorum)
This small-flowered dwarf orchid is found in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia and reaches about 12–15 cm in height. Its fragrant, bright yellow flowers are only 1–1.5 cm in diameter and the plant is often found in dense clumps in the tops of tall trees, or on the ends of spreading branches. Golden rain orchid (Oncidium cheirophorum) is in the Orchidaceae, one of the most species-rich plant families with approximately 25,000 species in roughly 850 genera, and which accounts for 8–10% of all flowering plants. They are distributed worldwide but are most diverse and numerous in the tropics and subtropics; elsewhere, they are also diverse in Mediterranean climatic zones (e.g. southern Africa and Australia). The orchid floras of many countries are poorly known with between 200–500 new species being described every year. Read more about this plant.
Snow protea (Protea cryophila)
Snow protea (Protea cryophila) is confined to a 25 km long strip along the snow line of the Cederberg mountains of South Africa, at an altitude of between 1750-1900 m. Here, it scrambles through rocks and scree, buried under snow for weeks in the winter but exposed to baking heat in the summer. Sadly, as the climate warms the snow belt is receding and heavy snowfalls, which snow protea needs to trigger flowering, are becoming less frequent. Millennium Seed Bank seed collectors were fortunate enough to be in the Cederberg wilderness after its heaviest snowfall for many years and a sizeable collection was made. Read more about this plant.
Plymouth pear (Pyrus cordata)
Plymouth pear (Pyrus cordata) is a wild relative of the domestic pear tree, and puts on an exuberant display of white flowers in late April and early May. However, because it rarely bears its small brownish-red fruits which produce very little viable seed due to an in-built control mechanism to stop inbreeding (called self-incompatibility), this tree has become one of Britain’s rarest. Kew first became involved in the conservation of Plymouth pear in 1879, when a plant was added to the Arboretum after its discovery in Britain in 1865. Almost exactly 100 years later, due to the partial destruction of one of its habitats – Plymouth pear (Pyrus cordata) currently survives in just two wild hedgerows – two more young trees were also planted at Kew Gardens. Later, more trees were planted near Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst. Read more about this rare tree.
African violet tree (Securidaca longepedunculata)
With its eye-catching flowers and scent, the African violet tree (Securidaca longepedunculata) is found in savanna woodland from Senegal to Nigeria and is widespread across tropical Africa. Often just a couple of metres high, its seed pods have a ‘wing’ making them a ‘dorsal samara’ type of seed, much like the sycamore tree. In Mali, the African violet tree is just one of many plants important for human welfare. It provides building materials, traditional medicines, and is a bee plant and source of animal fodder and human food. This useful tree is threatened in Mali by uncontrolled harvesting for use in local medicine, as well as by periodic droughts and bushfires. Read more about this rare species.
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