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The Last Great Plant Hunt: the story of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank
by Carolyn Fry, Sue Seddon, and Gail Vines

The Last Great Plant Hunt courtesy the publisher Kew Publishing brings you the fascinating story of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank which has been described by Sir David Attenborough as, “perhaps the most significant conservation initiative ever.” The book is of particular interest to everyone who care about our environment and the future of plants.

Illustrated with spectacular images, this book highlights the importance of conserving seeds from all plant species. As humans adapt to a changing climate and planet, there is a pressing need for wild plant seed banks and the plants they contain. Consequently, an urgent mission is underway to conserve all of the world’s plant diversity. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is a unique global asset - it is the largest seed bank of its kind in the world (dedicated to wild plant species) and contains the world's most diverse seed collections.

Over the past 10 years more than 3.5 billion seeds from nearly 25,000 species have been collected and stored in seed banks both in their country of origin and in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. In October 2009, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank celebrated collecting, banking and conserving 10% of the world’s wild plant species and the partnership now spans more than 120 institutions in 54 countries.

The Last Great Plant Hunt takes the reader on a journey that encompasses some of the most beautiful and threatened habitats and plants on Earth from the deserts of Australia through the alpine meadows of China to the rainforests of Madagascar. It explains the process of collecting and taking care of seeds, the uses of banked seed, and the future of seed conservation worldwide. The book includes profiles of seed hunters, fascinating stories of ‘treasure hunts’ and gives readers an insight into the threats to wild plants, such as the impact of industrialisation on the depletion of the world’s flora.

Author Carolyn Fry is a journalist and former editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, and author of The Plant Hunters (Andre Deutsch, 2009) and The World of Kew (BBC Books, 2006). Author Sue Seddon is an author and former editor of Kew magazine. Author Gail Vines is a journalist and regular contributor to Kew magazine.

Members of the public can support the work of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership by getting involved with the ‘Adopt a Seed, Save a Species' campaign. For £25 an individual can adopt a seed or for £1000 anyone can save an entire species. For more information go to Adopt a Seed

Publication Details:

Kew Publishing at Kew Books
Published April 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84246 432 8
192 pages; 155 colour photographs
Website of Kew Gardens: Kew Gardens

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