Establishing the National Seed Bank of Wales: Collecting, Conserving and Restoring the Welsh Flora




Wales, Conservation, Seedbanks


Seed banks are an efficient method of ex situ plant conservation, capable of conserving vast genetic diversity within a small space. In 2018, the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) started on a journey to establish a new seed bank focused on conserving the Welsh flora to expand its native plant conservation activities. Now equipped with facilities allowing professional long-term seed conservation within two lab spaces in NBGW’s Science Centre, the National Seed Bank of Wales has become a valuable resource for plant conservation and research in Wales. This article describes how the new seed bank has evolved and how it operates, which may inform other small-to-medium size botanic gardens looking to develop seed collecting and banking activities. When based at a botanic garden, seed banks are an excellent resource uniting the horticultural, scientific and educational expertise of staff. Wider benefits beyond long-term seed conservation include improving short-term storage methods of seed grown by the horticulture department for conservation and display; and training horticulture and science students. An associated trial of harvesting and marketing seed from NBGW’s wildflower-rich hay meadows for restoration purposes has also proved successful and commercially viable, helping to fund our conservation activities.


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How to Cite

McGinn, K. (2022). Establishing the National Seed Bank of Wales: Collecting, Conserving and Restoring the Welsh Flora. Sibbaldia: The International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, (21), 137–154.