The seedbank or genebank of the Botanic Garden Berlin-Dahlem has been storing seeds from wild plants since 1994. Our seedbank is therefore one of the oldest genebanks for wild plants in Germany. At the present time it contains about 6000 seed collections from all over the world, many of them from rare or threatened species. The geographical focal points of the collection are Berlin and Brandenburg as well as the eastern Mediterranean region and the Caucasus. From these seeds, plants can, if necessary, be used for species conservation measures (see Conservation cultures). In addition, they are available for science and research.
The seeds are collected in the field in agreement with the responsible local authorities and by the standards of the European Native seed Conservation Network "ENSCONET". Scientists must apply for permission from the relevant authorities for collecting seeds in nature reserves and from protected species. The seed material is cleaned, dried in a climate chamber to a residual moisture content of 3-8%, put into tightly sealable test tubes together with silica gel beads and frozen to -20°. Thus the seeds remain germinable for decades, some even for centuries or millennia!