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Our collections at PlantBank

The Australian PlantBank helps to protect our rich and precious biodiversity from the threat of extinction.

Seed collections are the most compact and cost-effective method of storing a wide range of plants. 

Did you know that we store over 100,000,000 seeds in our vault?

One seed packet of Juncus bufonius, a small toad rush that grows in moist and muddy places, holds over 2.3 million seeds. Several of our orchid collections, including Cymbidium suave, an epiphytic snake orchid, may hold as many as 10 million seeds! Some plants are so rare that we only have a few seeds of those species.

PlantBank seed collections at June 2019

Total number of collections 11,104
Australian species held in collection 5,156
Number of new collections (2018-19) 437
% NSW species represented (seedbearing only, total 5929 species) 46.20%
% NSW threatened species represented (from total of 623 species) 61%

However, not all species are suitable for seedbanking, including those that do not produce seeds or those that produce seed that cannot be dried. Tissue culture is an alternative to seedbanking for these species but it is more time-consuming and expensive and requires specialist laboratory facilities. 


Plantbank tissue culture collections at March 2018

Total number of collections (jars) 723 
Number of plant species represented 35
Number of plant families represented 18

Helpful definitions

Germplasm is material that represents a species or population, for example, seeds, spores, vegetative parts, whole plants, tissue cultures, cell cultures and pollen.