The science of seed conservation allows us to effecitvely safeguard our native species through the long term preservation of their seeds. Many species survive in long term deep storage of -20C for 200 years or more.

Does Ireland have a genetically unique flora?

We would like to encourage anyone reading this who has undertaken genetic research on Irish flora to get in touch, it is our intent to create a fully referenced hub of knowledge and information regarding our floral history.

We have taken DNA samples with each of our collections which can be made available for research.


The science of seed conservation

Seeds are living, breathing forms of life

Starting from the harvest the better we handle the seeds at each stage, the longer they will last in deep storage at -20C. Seed of same species often behave in similar ways so we can learn a lot by looking at past work. To preserve seeds in a long term deep freeze there are many considerations.

  1. Harvest – timing is critical and varies from species to species, year to year and season to season.
  2. Post harvest handling – storage out in the field until we get back to the Kilclief lab.
  3. Cleaning and drying – best practices to maintain the viability of the seed and genetic diversity.
  4. Bugs and diseases – best practices to keep the seeds and the lab clean.
  5. Testing the seed for viability.
  6. Storage methods.
  7. Effective cataloguing and labelling.   We share these seed conservation techniques with our participants.