The Seed Centre

The Seed Bank

The seed bank, or seed vault currently houses the 46 collections made in 2015. A new influx of 31 collections have been added in 2016. There is also a comprehensive collection of flax seed, kindly donated by AFBI. Seeds are collected, cleaned and dried down to 15% relative humidity (RH) before being stored at -20C. In these conditions seeds can last up to and beyond 200 years.

The lab

Our lab in Strangford is equipped to run the seed collections from. As collections come in we dry and clean the seed. We then further dry the seed to the critically low 15% RH and store it in a freezer at -20C. The lab is also our temporary home to our herbarium specimens, the DNA samples and the data sheets.


Plant material is gathered at the same time as getting the herbarium specimens and photos. It is brought to the centre and stored for future uses including possible determination of the genetic history of species in Ireland. In this it is our hope to attract research students in the future.

Germination testing is carried out on the collected seeds. Ultimately this data is used to test the viability of the seed collections for long term storage over time. Only a germination rate of 85% and above is sufficient for long term storage. Depending on viability results, the seeds will be retested for viabillity at sitable intervals and compared against the original germination tests. If a population is showing signs of ageing or losing viability they can be planted and grown out for a new batch of seed, or a new collection made and storage conditions revised.

Production Unit

THS has acquired planning permission to install a new Production Unit at Kilclief to create a working site to give us a working centre from which to preserve our wild flowers until September 2019.

Sensitive species can be grown out in the polytunnel which also provides a working space for our staff and volunteers out of the elements. Hardier plants will be grown in outside beds.

The seed from these will be used to bulk out small collections of plants and ultimately provide more seed for local restoration projects.

We will be growing out the 20 species of the Flax from AFBI, to bulk up our own collection and to return fresh seed to their stores.

A great way to get in touch with us is by email at