Picture shows glass jars lying on their side on a shelf. Each jar contains seeds. (Image: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Banking the World's Seeds

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the largest ex situ plant conservation programme in the world and aims to bank seed from 25% of the world's plant species by 2020.

Project information

Output Leader: Jonas Mueller

Funded by: Defra, private individuals and foundations, donors to the Kew Fund and the American Society for RBG Kew 

For opportunities to fund this output and help us reach our target, please contact the Output Leader.

Collecting and banking high quality seeds of 25% of the world’s seed-bearing plants

Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, housed in the Wellcome Trust Millennium Building at Wakehurst Place, is a vast vault for the long-term storage of seeds for research and conservation. Its associated global network, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP), is the largest ex situ plant conservation programme in the world and is active in over 80 countries. The MSBP will continue to collect and conserve high quality seed in order to achieve its target of banking 25% of the world’s plant species by 2020. By then the number of partners and countries in the MSBP will have grown by up to 20%, with common seed conservation standards used across the network. There will also be increased focus on collection quality and genetic diversity of collections.

We will also continue to build the seed collections of the UK flora, with a focus on multi-provenance collections of woody species via the UK National Tree Seed Project. In parallel to this, we will continue our research into the different strategies needed to conserve seeds that cannot withstand desiccation and freezing.