Slovakia has more than 800 species of seeds of various plants stored in gene banks. The researchers collected various seeds of endemic endangered plant species, none of the common species or invasive plant species.
Insurance against extinction of several species
“Seeds of not only endemic plant species are collected there, but also endangered by extinction and common or invasive plant species. Several species that we have managed to improve in this way have only one locality in Slovakia, such as the Gmelin Lime, the Pale Yellow Weevil, the Swamp Orchid or the Sand Autumn, “ approached by botanist Jaromír Kučera from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV).
According to the botanist, several species are just endemic. These are the Fatran cyclamen, the Muránsky lykovec, the Slovak nickel, the middle nickel, the jankov monk, the Carpathian bellflower and the lumnitzer clove. The seeds are placed in special seed banks in Kew near London and the city of Cluj in Romania. Part of the collected seeds is also in the gene bank in Slovakia, specifically in Piešťany.
The seeds of such plants form a kind of “insurance” against the extinction of the species and can serve to grow the plants and then plant them in the places where they are naturally located in the Carpathians. In addition, they are used for other research and scientific projects. “Fortunately, so far, these seeds have not had to be used to save the species from extinction in our territory,” the expert noted.
They also plan a website or publication
Kučera adds that the storage of seeds takes place under the auspices of a project called Conservation of the endemic flora of the Carpathians. The researchers thus created a network within the Carpathians from several organizations, which covers research on endemic plant species in the area. The project is funded by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, near London.
The botanist claims that the project should create a database that will include information on the distribution, biology or number of chromosomes of individual endemic species. The project also aims to create a website that provided various data on the aforementioned plant endemics in the Carpathians. It also aims to publish a publication called Flora endemica Carphathica.