Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) is an international seed conservation programme, centered at Kew Botanical Garden, UK and the MSBP in South Africa, a part of the South African National Biodiversity Initiative, forms part of a network of partners across 80 countries that focus on collecting and preserving the seed of wild plants that face the threat of extinction, and plants of most use for the future.
This is the largest conservation initiative in the world. The goal is to store seed from 25% of plants by 2020. Already 10% of world seed is stored in the bank at Kew. So far in South Africa we have made 5700 seed collections, but we still have a lot to do and aim to collect 2500 more between now and 2020.
A group of 12 enthusiastic Hermanus Botanical Society (HBS) members took up this challenge and joined some members of CREW at 2 days of a seed bank course in the Hermanus Botanical Society Hall. Flowers and seed were studied under the microscope and we learnt seed collection techniques. On day two we went into the field and collected seed and were shown how to store it with its parent plant specimens. This seed and plant specimens and accompanying data will be sent to MSBP at Kirstenbosch and entered onto our BRAHMS database once this is up and running. This is a most exciting and worthwhile project to be a part of. Anyone wishing to join the seed collection team would be most welcome.
Article by Di Marais