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Ex situ conservation — the practice of storing plants in off-site seed banks — is the most practical and efficient way to conserve plant diversity and ensure that the basic ecosystem services on which human populations depend are sustained indefinitely. Plants conserved in seed banks are protected from habitat destruction, climate change, and exotic pests and weeds and are immediately available as genetic stock for large-scale habitat restoration projects and focused species management.  The temperate plant conservation program of the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development collects seeds from rare plant populations throughout the lower Midwest and preserves them in humidity controlled freezers at the program’s conservation science lab and also at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation.

Geocarpon minimum (Caryophyllaceae)
MBG Curator Dr. Matthew Albrecht collecting seed
of Geocarpon minimum (Caryophyllaceae)
Helenium virginicum (Asteraceae)
MBG researchers collecting seed of
Helenium virginicum (Asteraceae)

We are committed to helping achieve two goals set forth by the North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Plant Conservation: having 75 percent of the threatened U.S. and Canadian flora represented in botanical garden ex situ collections by 2015, and promoting public education about plant diversity.

Completed Projects (2007-2010)

  • Seed-banked Apios priceana, Astragalus bibullatus, Conradina verticillata, and Spiraea virginiana populations in National Parks
  • Updated occurrence data and analyzed population trends for federally listed species in the Midwest for the Recovery on Public Lands Project
  • Seed-banked populations of Geocarpon minimum in Missouri and Arkansas
  • Developed a conservation science lab at the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Inventoried seed bank accessions to determine the availability of genetic material for restoration projects on federal property
  • Trifolium stoloniferum (Fabaceae)
    Trifolium stoloniferum (Fabaceae)
    Conradina verticillata (Lamiaceae)
    Conradina verticillata (Lamiaceae)
    Astragalus bibullatus (Fabaceae)
    Astragalus bibullatus (Fabaceae)

    Please visit our Volunteers section to learn how you can become involved with ex situ conservation at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

    Director, CCSD, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166 Phone: (314) 577-0871 © 2014