Many of Australia's native plant species are difficult to propagate from seed. This is because they only allow seed germination to occur under a series of natural conditions or trigger events.
Although our understanding of the seed biology of native Australian plants has improved in recent times, much still remains unknown. We need to know more if we are to use seed effectively for restoring plant biodiversity in degraded landscapes.
With this in mind, the department established the unique Seed Conservation Centre at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide to help conserve South Australia's threatened flora by collecting seed of priority plant species, establish long-term seed conservation collections and develop germination and storage protocols for each species collected.
One of the key activities at the Seed Conservation Centre is its involvement in the Millennium Seek Bank Project. The Millennium Seed Bank Project is a global effort to safeguard plants against extinction. The South Australian program led by the department aims to collect and store seed from at least 60 percent of our state's threatened plant species. Researchers at the Seed Conservation Centre are investigating the germination requirements of native plant seeds and the impact of threats such as climate change.