Seed Collections

Seed collection database under construction, due in January 2019, revisit here for link.

To date True Harvest Seeds have made and banked 136 high quality scientific collections in both THS’ and Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank banks. Each collection comprises seed, herbarium specimen, DNA sample, data sheet and photographs. If you are an organisation or land owner who has a species that you are interested in having preserved in the seed bank at Kilclief, Co Down or conversely you our your organisation has a restoration project in mind and would like to request a seed sample from the seed bank email: As well as our comprehensive collection of 136 wild flower species shared with MSB, we also hold many more collections. Have a look at our collections in the SEED BANK SEARCH. Associated data and plant material is not sold, but if you are in a position to do so, a donation would be gratefully received and used to help furnish your request and further our aims.  


If you have created a project involving wild flowers you’ll want to find local Irish seed of native ORIGIN. Having had around 14,000 years separated by the sea from Europe and Britain, Irish plants have evolved independently. There is not enough work done as yet on each species to ascertain differences. Irish plants, as far as we can know, will still be close enough to interbreed with their British and EU counterparts. The hypothesis is; if we continue to import native species of NON-native origin, then we may lose what we barely knew we had. THS is working on the basis of the precautionary principle and takes every effort to find populations that are far removed from cultivars or imported plantings. This is easier for insect pollinated plants than wild pollinated plants. We talk to land owners and local volunteers to find out the recent and perhaps not so recent information.

It is with the kind permission of our local land owners and that we are able to continue this work. Land owners are in a good position to monitor the progress of the plants we are targeting.  Plant monitoring involves keeping an eye on a large population of plants in the wild – when you’re out walking anyway is perfect. When the plants are in flower we get together and take a Herbarium Specimen and a sample for DNA testing. Later when the population is fruiting we gather a group of volunteers and make the seed collection.  There are about 1,400 species of wild plants collectable in Ireland and if you multiply this with the 32 counties we have a lot of collecting to be getting on with. We are working in partnership with Kew’s UK National Tree Seed Project in 2019 to make 4 collections of Salix trees for storage in the Millennium Seed Bank vaults.  

What we do with the collections

Conservation. Restoration. Information. Research. Sharing.

The collections made by True Harvest Seeds can be put to many uses. If you are an individual or organisation with a restoration project an appropriate amount of seed can be requested from us, dependent on suitability of location. We in turn can grow out seed in the collections to top up seed numbers in the collection should they get low and therefore ensure supply for everyone on into the future. We take care to avoid genetic bottleneck by, where possible, planting 250 individual plants. To download our Land Owners information sheet click here.

Make a seed donation

Then there are the industrial and agricultural crops. Perhaps you still grow an open pollinated variety that was passed down through your family, friends or your neighbours? If you have seed of an open pollinated variety that you would like to donate, please get in touch. There is no amount too small. We have the facilities to grow out small collections and bulk up amounts of seed, so that we can then share them upon request. A great way to get in touch with us is by email at

A collection comprises five parts.

Each collections takes a minimum of two outings to complete.

  1. Herbarium specimen. Pressed and dried examples of the species. Used for ex-situ visual reference to the collection.
  2. DNA sample. Held in storage for future genetic testing.
  3. Photos. A general picture of the area, a closer picture to get in associated species and close ups of the flowers and seeds.
  4. 10,000 seeds. 500 as a base collection, various amounts for present and future germination testing, most available for suitable restoration projects.
  5. Data sheet. Including legal conformity, plant and location details, collection information.

Land owners

Looking forward to 2019 - a new approach

True Harvest Seeds are now accepting  queries from land owners who would like to have their flora represented in the seed bank.  This may appeal to you or your organisation if you are an ASSI and have species potentially under threat.  With your plants’ seeds safe in the seed bank you are insured against loss of species – or even loss of numbers that would create a bottleneck in the wild population genetics.  Seeds can be withdrawn from the seed bank and plants grown out.  The seeds from these plants will then replenish the seed bank stocks. This new project will begin in 2019 and run for 3 years.