To assist with this mission, Kew gardens today announced that they are launching a seed bank for native plant species that will help to protect and restore disappearing wildflower meadows in the UK.In an effort to restore the diversity of the past the ‘UK Native Seed Hub’ will collect rare specimens and help provide millions of seeds to horticulture companies, conservation groups and even gardeners.
Already temporary seed production beds in a walled nursery at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex are growing lowland meadow species like speedwell and harebell.
In the past efforts to introduce native species to new sites have hit problems because cutting and gathering hay from existing meadows only captures plants which are in seed at the time of mowing, while some species have proved hard to germinate.
The store will concentrate on plants like cuckoo flower or common knapweed that flower early or late in the season and are therefore neglected by many collectors.
The UK Native Seed Hub, an initiative from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, will provide high-quality seeds and scientific advice to groups growing wildflower meadows across the UK. The hub will then go on to support the restoration of 40 other native habitats such as chalk grasslands and lowland heathland.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is the largest wild plant seed bank in the world and has conserved seed from 30,000 species across the globe. It also safeguards 90% of UK species in its vaults.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/