UK Seed Banking

Capturing, protecting and restoring plant diversity in the UK, expanding the national repository for native seeds and making our collections, data and expertise available to support research, conservation and restoration work.

Researchers collecting seeds from a grassy field on a hillside

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with just 53% of its native biodiversity remaining – well below any of the minimum thresholds proposed for healthy ecosystem function and the sustainable delivery of essential ecosystem services. In response, the governments of the UK have developed ambitious plans to conserve and restore species and habitats with the overall aim of halting biodiversity loss by 2030.

The MSB’s UK Programme is helping achieve this ambition by:

  1. Making new seed collections to increase the ex-situ conservation of the UK’s flora at the MSB.

  2. Using our collections and science to improve restoration outcomes and support active restoration work in the UK.

  3. Sharing knowledge and expertise through partnership working, training and technical support.

We are making new high-quality collections of seed, tissue samples and field data, prioritising threatened and endemic species, trees and the material needed to support hypothesis-driven research and active restoration by Kew and our partners. Sampling strategies emphasise genetic diversity and adaptive potential at intraspecific and intrapopulation scales, ensuring our collections are relevant and responsive to the challenges posed by climate change and other emerging threats. 

We are committed to increasing the accessibility of our seed collections, data and expertise to researchers and conservation practitioners. Seed and plant material is available to support species recovery, reintroduction and habitat restoration projects, responding to partner or project need with a focus on rare, specialised or specific-origin material that is otherwise unavailable in the UK. We also work with colleagues and partners to link Kew’s seed collections and research strengths in seed and germination ecology, conservation genetics and horticulture to practical applications in the specification, collection, production, storage and use of native seed and plants. 

We also provide technical advice and training to support high quality seed collecting and help partners access and make effective use of native seed to achieve their own conservation and restoration goals.

  • Bank 750 new UK seed collections between 2022 and 2027
  • Provide specialist native seed or plants, advice, applied research, training or technical assistance to at least 50 UK restoration projects between 2022 and 2027.

  • Develop, test and launch an open-access database of UK tree seed collections by March 2025.

Enhanced Partnerships

Project Leader 

Ted Chapman – UK Conservation Partnerships Coordinator  


Stephanie Miles – UK Collections Coordinator 
Christopher Cockel – UK Native Seed Hub Coordinator 
Jennifer Peach – UK Threatened Flora Project Officer 
Isabel Negri – UK Conservation Projects Officer
Owen Blake – UK Ash Collecting Project Officer 
Matthew Jeffery – UK Tree Seed Collecting Field Officer


We work with a wide range of partners across the UK, including national statutory agencies such as Natural England and the Forestry Commission; large conservation organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, Plantlife and the Woodland Trust; the National Botanic Garden of Wales; and many smaller local or community-led conservation initiatives.

  • Players of People’s Postcode Lottery
  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Esmee Fairbain foudation logo
  • The Forestry Commission
Forestry Commission logo
  • Defra
DEFRA logo
  • Thanks to National Lottery players
National Lottery Heritage Fund

@Kew_MSBUK on Twitter  

Chapman, T., Miles, S., & Trivedi, C., (2019)

Capturing, protecting and restoring plant diversity in the UK: RBG Kew and the Millennium Seed Bank.

Plant Diversity, 41: 124-131. 

Peach, J., Davies, R., Walmisley, J. & Chapman, T. (2017)

An Assessment of Seed Viability, Germination and Vegetative Propagation Requirements for Nuphar pumila.

Natural England Commissioned Report, Number 244. York. 

Trivedi, C., Cavers, S., Atkinson, N., Clark, C. & Cottrell, J. (2018).

A strategy for UK Forest Genetic Resources: protecting the UK’s unique diversity of trees and shrubs.

RBG Kew. 

Gargiulo, R., Saubin, M., Rizzuto, G., West, B., Fay, M.F., Kallow, S. & Trivedi, C. (2019)

Genetic diversity in British populations of Taxus baccata L.: Is the seedbank collection representative of the genetic variation in the wild?

Biological Conservation, 233: 289-297. 

Davies, R., Hudson, A., Dickie, J., Cook, C., O'Hara, T., & Trivedi, C. (2020)

Exploring seed longevity of UK native trees: implications for ex situ conservation.

Seed Science Research, 30: 1-11.