About the New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank

The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank(NZIFSB) is a project to collect seeds from New Zealand flora, with the aim of conserving New Zealand's biodiversity.

That the seed bank was part of New Zealand’s national response to the incursion of Myrtle rust in 2017 – a disease that has the potential to decimate our native and introduced Myrtaceae.  And include the link:  https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/department-conservation-banking-more-seeds-save-native-trees-myrtle-rust-fungus.

The project is part of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom.

The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank project is led by Massey University. The seeds are collected by volunteers who are trained in appropriate collecting techniques. Once processed, seeds are banked at low moisture and temperature (-20°C) in a physical seed bank at the Margot Forde Forage Germ Plasm Centre (AgResearch).  A specimen representative of the plants the seed is collected from is also prepared and stored at the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium at Massey University in Palmerston North.

Awards from the Strategic Innovation Fund (Massey University), the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, the George Mason Charitable Trust and MWH Limited have provided funding for staff and equipment to progress the project.

A new Lottery Grants board-funded project led by Massey University to collect study and store seed of New Zealand’s alpine flora began in 2021. New Zealand’s, like all alpine flora,  is particularly vulnerable to climate change. New Zealand flora in general and the alpine especially so is highly endemic (for the alpine around 83% endemicity) so the flora is both nationally and internationally significant.

The aim of the NZIFSB is to collect the seeds of New Zealand flora as part of an ex-situ conservation strategy to conserve the biodiversity within New Zealand’s indigenous flora. Seed once banked will remain viable in the bank for decades if not longer.

As with any bank, withdrawals are possible but only for a limited range of purposes, such as for reintroduction of species where populations have been lost in the wild and, more rarely, for research projects that will help with ex situ or in situ conservation of the species. Seed may also be used for multiplication to replenish seed in the seed bank.

Contact us