National Seed Bank of Wales

Within our Science Centre is the National Seed Bank of Wales.

These labs are equipped to professionally dry, clean and test seeds, and to store seeds long-term. Our facilities and processes meet the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership’s Seed Conservation Standards.

Our focus is the Welsh flora. The Red Data List for Wales estimates that around one-sixth of Wales’ plants are threatened with extinction. The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s Plant Atlas 2020 project found that 40% of plant species in Wales have declined in their distribution since 1950.

Seed banking is a key tool to help safeguard plants and their genetic diversity for the future. By storing seeds long-term, seed banks act as an insurance policy that can prevent plant extinctions.

As an official partner organisation of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, we have been making targeted seed collections from threatened and declining species in Wales. In 2022 and 2023, this has been via the UK Threatened Flora Project, an initiative that aims to sample seeds from multiple populations of threatened species to capture genetic variation across the UK.

We store half of each seed collection in our seed bank, and send the other half to the Millennium Seed Bank. These collections will ensure that material from a wide range of origins is available for future in-situ conservation action, while also providing a valuable resource for research.

Our labs also have facilities for lab-based germination, supporting our conservation horticulture activities.

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.