STA, 5 February 2019 - As many as 702 native plant species or 20.3% of Slovenia's flora was stored in the seed bank of the University of Ljubljana's Botanical Gardens (Botanični vrt Univerze v Ljubljani) in 2018. Thus the country reached the global goal whereby every country should protect at least 20% of its native plants in seed banks by 2020.
The goal is set in the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, a programme of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. Slovenia ratified the convention, the main global treaty governing biodiversity, in 1996.
To accompany the achieved goal, the Botanical Gardens published a book to present the tradition of Slovenian plant research as well as the collection and keeping of seeds, researcher Blanka Ravnjak told the press in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
The Botanical Gardens have collected seeds and grown plants from them since inception, also exchanging seeds with other botanical gardens, she explained.
The exchange of seeds has been documented ever since 1889, when the first list of seeds was printed.
Seeds are collected annually in the Botanical Gardens and broader, and are kept in paper bags stored in wooden cabinets. The dry storage contains seeds of around 3,000 different plant species in more than 120,000 paper bags.
But to prolong their longevity, some seeds have been kept in bottles in refrigerators and freezers at -18 degrees Celsius in the permanent seed bank since 2016.
It is in this permanent storage where the 702 native plant species are kept at the moment.
The Botanical Gardens have also selected seeds of 80 species "which are especially important for Slovenian flora", contributing them to the Millennium Seed Bank, the world's largest bank of its kind.