Growing a particular group of plants can focus the expertise and resources need to support those plants, can meet the needs for research and develop, and help with interpretation and outreach.
Living collections can be categorised as:
Native plant collections cultivate plants from their surrounding region or national flora.
Taxonomic collections focus on taxonomic groups to support education, research, conservation and public display. For example, some gardens may specialise in the collection of ferns, others in the collection of the Palmaceae. Larger gardens may form collections of more than one taxonomic group.
Thematic collections specialise in a limited range of related or morphologically similar plants in support of education, science, conservation and public display. These include orchids, roses, Rhododendron, bamboos and succulents or thematic collections such as ethnobotanical, medicinal plants, crops (particularly minor crops in botanic gardens), bonsai, topiary, butterfly gardens, carnivorous plants and aquatics.
This approach to collection focuses on plants from one habitat or ecotype - examples of these collections include alpines, epiphytes or aquatic plants.
BGjournal is the worldwide journal of botanic garden conservation. It covers a range of detailed content including in-depth features, congress reports, profiles of gardens and case studies of conservation work being carried out in gardens around the world.
Seed banks are essential for ex situ conservation, and many botanic gardens contribute and collect seeds for storage. However, setting up a bank, collecting and maintaining viable and representative stocks is very challenging.
BGCI PlantSearch Database
The BGCI plant search allows you to research plants in living collections all around the world. It gives cross-referenced information with Red Data Lists, plant images, the International Plant Names Index, Crop Wild Relatives, and the Tree Conservation Database.