David Attenborough’s 200-year-old miracle plant

Most people are familiar with the life cycle of plants.Plants start as seeds, germinate and grow into mature plants. When they are fully grown, they produce the next generation. The Q Millenium Seed Bank was looking to extend that cycle.

200 years ago, a British ship intercepted a trading vessel coming back from the Cape of Good Hope. Onboard, the sailors found unfamiliar seeds. They kept them in the Tower of London.

Eventually,the researchers transported them to the Q Millenium Seed Bank. When the team planted one of the 200-year-old seeds, it grew into a healthy Pincushion plant. “It just shows how long seeds can survive, even without help,” said Sir David Attenborough.
Their goal was to store all of our planet’s plants for future millennia.

To keep the plants viable for as long as possible, the researchers clean the seeds, dry them, store them in jars and store them at minus 20 degrees.

The Q Millenium Seed Bank pioneered research into the potential lifetimes of plant offspring. «The longevity of most seeds is unknown,» said Attenborough. So they should be checked regularly.

The team hoped it could protect against the future while providing relief right now. «Because every time we find a plant that’s on the brink of extinction, we can now increase its numbers with seeds,» said Attenborough.

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