FAQ: How do I know my species storage requirements?

1 Answer
Center for Plant Conservation's picture
Submitted by Center for Plan... on Tue, 07/02/2019 - 2:43pm

Determining Storage Requirements

Several authors have examined patterns in seed storage behavior (see references) that can help collectors. Begin with a literature review to check if any previous research has been done on your taxon. You can check congeners, but beware that this is not always reliable or conclusive. Our Hawaiian colleagues have found quite varying storage behavior within a single genus (Walters, Weisenberger and Clark, personal communications). Many factors determine variation in seed tolerance to desiccation or freezing. The following are some general patterns observed in seeds that tend to withstand orthodox storage or not.

Trait Likely to Be Orthodox (Desiccation and Freezing Tolerant) Questionable Tolerance to Orthodox Storage
Habitat Arid is especially likely; If it is not growing in a wetland, it is is likely Wetland, riparian
Conditions in nature Seeds normally experience dry down and/or hard freezes Seeds normally remain moist and do not experience hard freezes
Season of seed production Not spring Spring
Life form Not tree Trees
Seed bank Persistent Not persistent
Dormancy With dormancy No dormancy
Seed moisture content at time of maturation Dry when it is naturally shed from plant High (30%–70%)
Seed size   Very large (avocado seeds aren't desiccation tolerant) or very small (orchid seeds and fern spores require storage in liquid nitrogen)


Plant Groups with High Proportion of Desiccation Sensitive Seeds Plant Groups with Predominantly Orthodox Seeds
ANITAGrade Arecales Ericales Fagales Icacinales Laurales Magnoliales Malpighiales Myrtales Orchidaceae Oxalidales Santalales Salicaceae Sapindale Solanaceae Poaceae Asteraceae Brassicaceae

Have a question or info about Conventional Seed Banking?