Seed bank grows with latest collection

| 02/06/2014

(CNS): Some 10,000 wild seeds have been collected this year by the Department of the Environment as part of a seed bank project, which aims to have a stock of endemic species safely preserved in case of potential extinction. Cayman first became involved in what is an international project, funded by the Darwin initiative grant, in 2010 and renewed its partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, last year for another three years. The Millennium Seed Bank Project aims to collect seed samples from the world’s plants and trees to store them safely and now has 10% of the world's plant species saved.

Local collectors from the DoE and the National Trust have been focusing on the Mastic Trail and the Botanic Gardens to ensure it preserves seeds for the countries unique flora.

From Wild Strawberry (Eugenia axillaris) to Satinwood (Zanthoxlum falvum), the collected seeds have been processed according to guidelines provided by the MSB. After the cleaning process the seeds were dried and the samples divided in two. One set will be kept for freezing at the DoE and the other will be sent to the Central Millennium Bank in the UK. A small number of seeds from each species were retained in order to compare germination success before and after the drying process.  

For more details on this and other news from the DoE’s terrestrial unit see the latest edition of Flicker below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did not the National Gallery buy the Native Plants fro the botanic park?  The park can always use some more money, more staff, for what they do with the little they have is remarkable. 


  2. Henry says:

    Did you collected any caymanian seed?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Native Tree Nursery at the Botanic Park used to have a lovely collection of native plants including endemic species which you could purchase at very reasonable prices and plant in your garden. You can see that the staff are doing their best to provide the plants that they can but there seems to be a funding issue or something because the selection now is very limited.

    It would be great if it could be brought back to the level it was at in the past (or even expanded upon which I thought was the original intention). Each plant had a label with some basic information about it. Native trees and plants do really well and tend to grow great in any Cayman soil (even places near canals where marl has been put down or where there is limited topsoil). Because they are suited to the local environment they can survive and thrive for the large part on rainfall alone without any additional water. It’s almost as though you can plant and forget and come back and look at the plants growing in their own time and way.

    As for landscaping costs and water costs, going local is one of the best things you can do. Of course if you can give them extra care they will do better and grow faster. The great thing about the native plants is that they tend to attract native wildlife including birds and butterflies. Every native plant put around an office / workplace or in a backyard provides a little oasis for native wildlife where they can find food and shelter. The trick is to put a variety a plants because some birds feed for example on certain berries and others don’t.

    The same goes for butterflies which I understand can be very specific. This is why it is important that the public have access to a variety of different plants. Regardless of ones views on development if we all do our part in putting native plants in our yard and around our workplaces we can seek to limit our impact on the environment. We should all at least plant one or two local plants in our yard and around our offices. When shown the beauty of native plants I believe some people are shocked. There are so many lovely flowers such as Bulls Hoof, White Wood, Broadleaf etc..

    It is fantastic that we are banking seeds and keeping them safe in the event of a catastrophe but in addition to this we should try to create a green web throughout Cayman by bringing nature to us. Some species do not seem to do well when they are disturbed and for those species we should preserve areas so they can survive and expand these areas where we can (such as the Mastic Reserve, Salina Reserve and others like them etc.).

    I have observed that for the large part most Cayman animals seem to be pretty resilient and we can protect many of them by making it possible for them to live with us and around us by giving them a place through plants to live and exist. Those species at risk need to be identified. Those plants at risk should be available for sale at the Native Tree Nursery so we can spread them throughout the Island and into urban ares.

    The plants associated with wildlife at risk should also be identified and made available so we can assist those species. I think it is a rare person indeed who does not like to look outside a window and see nature thriving. It warms the soul. It really doesn’t take much to make it happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the native tree nursery is doing a fine job. I was there last month and it had much more stock than a year ago.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Elitetist Seed Bank.  For them when we are all gone after the purge. Not for us!  Wake Up!  Save your own heirloom seeds.



  5. Maiden Plum says:

    Love it.  Good Job DOE.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is awesome! good job cayman.