The Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew contains one of the world’s largest collections of seeds of wild plants. The history and physical nature of the Bank are described, together with the principles of seed physiology on which the collection is based. A major policy is the collecting, long-term storage and distribution of seeds from arid and semi-arid areas, particularly in developing countries. Both the conservation and the utilisation of plant resources are cheaply and efficiently achievable by the Seed Bank, but potential end-users of these resources, such as non-governmental organisations, are difficult to contact – a problem which this article aims to redress.
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