- Evolutionary ecology research
- Horticultural research
- Save a Species
- Control of flowering in waratahs
- NSW Seedbank
- Plant Conservation Course
- Seed biology
- Rainforest seed project
- Seed germination of high-altitude species
- Terrestrial Orchid Conservation
- Terrestrial orchids
- Plant diversity research
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- Scientific publications
An international collaboration for plant conservation
>> Download our latest SeedQuest brochure.
SeedQuest NSW is an international partnership for plant conservation between the NSW Seedbank at the Australian Botanic Garden and the Millennium Seed Bank Project of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (UK). The Millennium Seed Bank provides funding for the SeedQuest NSW project, as well as funding partnerships run by other Australian States and organisations around the world. The Millennium Seed Bank Project aims to have 10% of the world’s dryland flora species held as seed conservation collections by 2010.
SeedQuest NSW was launched on 10 November 2003 as a six year program of seed collecting and research. We aim to make seed collections from 250 different NSW species per year. These collections are split, and duplicated collections are stored at both the NSW Seedbank and the MSB, as a risk management strategy. The species collected should be new to the MSB i.e. where no previous collections of the these species are held.
Australian seeds are great survivors and seedbanking provides a cost effective means of conserving genetic diversity for research and conservation. A collection containing thousands of seeds requires only minimal storage space.
After collection, the wild-sourced seed are dried down to a low moisture content, cleaned of debris and stored at -18°C, before collections are split between the NSW Seedbank and Millennium Seed Bank. The cold, dry conditions preserve seed in a state of ‘suspended animation’ with minimal metabolic activity and deterioration, to be used tens or even hundreds of years later for research, restoration and other activities.
See Collecting and processing for examples of how seed is collected, cleaned and stored.
SeedQuest NSW also aims to improve our understanding of the seed biology of common and threatened NSW species, including seed maturation, germination, dormancy and longevity. For further information see Seed Research.
Other Australian partners of the Millennium Seed Bank Project
Advances in knowledge
Myrsine richmondensis (Ripple-leaf Muttonwood) is a nationally endangered small rainforest tree, producing fleshy purple fruit. Conventional seedbanking requires that seeds are dried before storage. The fleshy fruits of rainforest trees may not tolerate drying and so can be difficult to store. Research carried out at the NSW Seedbank found that seeds of this rare tree can be successfully dried and stored, which will provide an important method of ex situ conservation for the species.
Eucalyptus copulans is a critically endangered species. Only two living trees are known for this multi-trunked, smooth-barked gum from the Blue Mountains. Seeds from both known individuals have been collected and stored in the NSW Seedbank, providing an important ex situ collection and contributing to the overall recovery plan for this species.
Achievements in the first three years
SeedQuest NSW is a flagship conservation project for the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, but there is so much more work to be done. We have a range of potential future seed conservation projects, and welcome interest from supporters.
For further information contact Peter Cuneo at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan Drive, Mount Annan, NSW 2567 Australia Phone (+61 2) 4634 7915 Email email@example.com.