The Australian PlantBank incorporates a large seedbank (formerly the NSW Seedbank). For those tricky plants that can’t be conserved as seeds, the Australian PlantBank provides alternative storage systems such as tissue culture or cryogenic storage at temperatures as low as -196°C. It is located in the heart of Australia’s largest botanic garden at Mount Annan and integrates with the huge living collections of Australian species.
The Australian PlantBank has been specially designed so visitors can experience the ‘journey of the seed’ and be inspired by the important conservation work of our scientists.
Many of the plants you see in the garden today began their journey as a seed collection. Seeds are at the very heart of a botanic garden. At the Australian PlantBank, we specialise in wild collected Australian native seed and have over 10,400 collections in the seed vault. Importantly, conserving our unique flora is a major focus at PlantBank, where we store and research seed of endangered plants as a safeguard against extinction.
Staff at the Australian PlantBank collect and store seeds from common as well as rare and threatened plant species. Many different collection and processing methods are used. Each and every seed must be prepared correctly before it can be stored in the seed vault. The precious wild seeds are carefully dried, prior to sealing in foil packets for long term storage in the freezer at -20ºC. When seeds are properly prepared, many of our threatened plants can be stored for hundreds of years – as an important back up insurance for wild populations on the brink. The success of conserving seeds for the long-term depends on the collection of good quality seed, correct preparation of the seed for storage and maintaining the collections in dry, cold conditions. The colder the storage temperature, the longer the seeds will last.